MLB declares Hector Olivera a free agent

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Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. That means Olivera is free to negotiate and sign with any team at any time. He’s expected to garner a contract in the $50-70 million range.

The Dodgers, Braves, Padres, Athletics, Yankees, and Giants are believed to have the most interest in Olivera at this time. Olivera, who defected from Cuba last September, will turn 30 years old on April 5. He has batted .323/.407/.505 with 96 home runs and 433 RBI across 10 seasons in the Cuban National Series.

Olivera was believed to have suffered a UCL injury but his representatives refuted the claim, saying he passed four physicals per Baseball America’s Ben Badler.

Aaron Judge exits game with left oblique injury

Aaron Judge
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Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was shaken up during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals. The slugger appeared to tweak his left side after hitting a single off of Glenn Sparkman in the sixth inning, and was wincing in pain as team trainers attended to him. Per an official announcement from the club, he sustained a left oblique injury and will undergo an MRI at the New York Presbyterian Hospital this afternoon.

While it’s not yet clear how long Judge will be out of commission, it’s a worrying injury given his history. The 26-year-old outfielder was similarly sidelined in 2016 after a right oblique strain brought an abrupt end to his first MLB call-up, and missed significant time again in 2018 after fracturing his right wrist. It’s also a blow to the Yankees, who currently have a dozen players nursing injuries from bone spurs to rotator cuff issues on the injured list.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, Judge went 2-for-4 with a first-inning home run and a base hit, adding to a healthy .288/.404/.521 batting line and running total of five homers, 11 RBI, and a .925 OPS through his first 89 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by infielder/outfielder Tyler Wade, who stepped in to pinch-run in the sixth and returned at the top of the seventh to assume Judge’s post in right field.