Hector Olivera’s camp denies any damage to ulnar collateral ligament

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UPDATE: Ben Badler of Baseball America got a stronger response from Olivera’s camp, who said that the report about possible UCL damage in his elbow is “absolutely not true.” Additionally, they say that he has taken for physicals and passed them all.

7:33 p.m. ET: According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, representatives for Hector Olivera “were surprised” to hear about Passan’s report and weren’t aware of any ligament damage in the elbow. They also said that he feels fine. This doesn’t necessarily clear anything up, though.

7:11 p.m. ET: After Yoan Moncada reached a deal with the Red Sox, the next big name Cuban player to sign with an MLB team was expected to be infielder Hector Olivera. However, it’s safe to say that his market just hit a bit of a snag. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has the story:

Serious concern exists that Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm, potentially hindering the market for a free agent who many expected to contribute in the major leagues this season, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Olivera, 29, recently underwent physicals for a number of teams in anticipation of Major League Baseball clearing him to sign. The market for Olivera swelled following a strong series of showcases and private workouts in which the right-handed hitter showed the powerful bat that made him a star second baseman in Cuba.

According to Passan, Olivera already has one offer in hand for more than $50 million. However, a damaged UCL and the possibility of Tommy John surgery would almost certainly change things.

Of course, position players don’t need as much time to rehab from Tommy John surgery as pitchers, but it would still likely cost Olivera around 6-9 months. That would rule him out for all of 2015. And this isn’t a young player we are talking about here. He’ll be 30 this April.

Olivera batted some injuries toward the end of his time in Cuba, missing the entire 2012-13 season due to thrombosis in his left biceps, but he has done nothing but hit when healthy. He compiled a .323/.407/.505 batting line over 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago in Serie Nacional.

Twins reach historic home run total during 11-4 rout of White Sox

Max Kepler
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The Twins trampled the White Sox on Friday night, cruising to a cool 11-4 lead over their division rivals and collecting their sixth double-digit win of 2019. Even more impressive, they picked up their 99th, 100th, and 101st home runs, a feat that’s rarely been matched in a team’s first 50 games of any given season.

The first homer of the night was delivered by Eddie Rosario in the third inning. Working against a single-run deficit, Rosario lifted an 0-1 fastball from the White Sox’ Reynaldo López, planting it firmly in the left field stands and evening the score, 4-4. Two batters later, Rosario’s solo home run got a sequel: a 398-footer from Miguel Sanó, this one postmarked for the upper deck in left.

In the fourth, now leading 5-4, the Twins saw a third and final homer from the bat of Max Kepler, whose center-field blast traveled a projected 397 feet to give the club a two-run advantage. Per MLB Stats, the Twins’ record — 101 homers in 50 games — stands second only to that of the 1999 Mariners, who managed to club 102 home runs before their 51st game of the season.

While the record has undoubtedly been a team effort, Rosario leads the pack with a team-best 15 homers so far this year, closely followed by C.J. Cron (13), Max Kepler (11), and Jonathan Schoop (10). Sanó, whose solo shot marked the team’s 100th home run of 2019, has just five, though there’s little doubt he’ll reach double digits before the end of the season.

According to MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park, the Twins also made it to an even 300 runs scored in 2019, for a satisfying average of six runs per game and a new franchise record (previous high mark: 273 runs scored in 1992). With the win, they improved to 34-16 on the year and continue to hold a comfortable eight-game lead in the AL Central.