Braves hold private workout for Hector Olivera

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According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Cuban infielder Hector Olivera had a private workout with the Braves on Sunday morning in the Dominican Republic. Badler writes that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and assistant GM John Coppolella were both in attendance, along with a number of special assistants and the organization’s top two scouts.

Olivera is drawing a ton of major league interest after batting .316/.412/.474 during the 2013-2014 season in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He turns 30 years old in April, but both contenders and rebuilders (like the Braves) are being connected to him. Olivera is expected to sign as a second or third baseman.

The Giants, A’s, Padres, Rangers, and Yankees are among the other teams with reported interest.

Yanks pitcher Severino has lat strain, likely to start on IL

severino injury
Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Yankees could be opening the season without three-fifths of their projected starting rotation.

Right-hander Luis Severino has a low-grade lat strain, Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Saturday, putting the two-time All-Star at risk of starting the season on the injured list.

“Obviously it’s going to put him in jeopardy to start the year,” Boone said.

Boone expressed optimism this wouldn’t be a long-term issue but acknowledged that Severino “most likely” would get placed on the injured list.

Severino, 29, went 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts last season. He struck out 112 in 102 innings.

Boone said the issue arose after Severino made his last start on Tuesday.

“Afterwards when he was kind of doing his workout, arm-care stuff, he just felt some tightness in there,” Boone said. “He came in the next day and it was a little tight, and then yesterday he was going to go out and throw and that tightness was still there enough to where he wanted to go get it looked at.”

The Yankees already won’t have right-hander Frankie Montas or left-hander Carlos Rodón for the start of the season.

Rodón, who joined the Yankees by signing a $162 million, six-year contract in the offseason, has a left forearm strain that will cause him to open the season on the injured list. Rodón has been an All-Star the last two seasons, in 2021 with the Chicago White Sox and in 2022 with the San Francisco Giants.

Montas is recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t begin throwing until at least late May.

The only projected starters from the Yankees’ rotation likely to be ready for the beginning of the season are five-time All-Star right-hander Gerrit Cole and 2022 All-Star left-hander Nestor Cortes.

DEGROM SHARP

Jacob deGrom struck out six over 3 2/3 shutout innings against the San Diego Padres in his final start before making his Texas Rangers regular-season debut.

The Rangers had announced Friday that deGrom would get the start Thursday when the Rangers open their season against Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies. The two-time Cy Young Award winner signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers in the offseason after spending nine seasons with the New York Mets.

GREINKE WORKS 5 1/3 INNINGS

Zack Greinke pitched 5 1/3 innings in his final test before he gets the ball against the Minnesota Twins in Kansas City on Thursday.

It will be Greinke’s seventh opening day start. At 39 years old, he will be the oldest opening-day starter in the history of the Royals franchise, breaking his own record set last year. He will be the the oldest opening day starter in the American League since a 40-year-old Curt Schilling started against the Royals in 2007.

Greinke allowed two runs on five hits against the Dodgers with no walks and two strikeouts.

“He was great today,” first-year manager Matt Quatraro said.“It certainly looked like the way they (Dodger batters) were taking those pitches, he was just dotting the plate on both sides. His two-seamer and changeup looked really good. It was encouraging.”

VOIT OPTS OUT

First baseman Luke Voit has opted out of his minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, giving the veteran slugger the opportunity to negotiate with other teams. He also could still return to the Brewers on a major league contract.

In other Brewers news, right-hander Adrian Houser left his start Saturday after 1 2/3 innings due to groin tightness.