Hector Olivera’s six-year, $62.5 million contract includes a Tommy John surgery clause

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month that “serious concern exists” about the structure of Hector Olivera’s throwing elbow. That report has been refuted by Olivera’s representatives and the 29-year-old Cuban infielder still managed to score a six-year, $62.5 million free agent contract Tuesday from the Dodgers, but the Los Angeles front office did give itself some protection.

Robert Murray of MLB Daily Rumors had this revelation first …

If Hector Olivera needs Tommy John surgery, there will be an extra year and $1 million added to Olivera’s contract, according to an industry source. It is currently unclear whether or not he’ll need Tommy John surgery, but one source says “he does have something” wrong within his elbow.

John Lackey had a similar clause in his five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Red Sox and will make just $507,500 from the Cardinals this year because of it. He needed Tommy John surgery in October 2011.

Olivera was primarily a second baseman in Cuba, but the Dodgers will likely try him at third base.

He was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional.

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UPDATE, 10:22 p.m. ET: MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that a recent MRI showed a slight tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in Olivera’s throwing elbow. He should be able to play through it.

The Cubs played under protest after Joe Maddon disputed an ‘illegal’ pitching motion

Joe Maddon
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The Cubs found themselves in a disadvantageous position toward the end of their 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday. Down by three in the ninth, they were finally looking to gain some ground against closer Sean Doolittle after wearying themselves against Stephen Strasburg for the first eight innings of the game. Instead, the game ended under protest when Cubs skipper Joe Maddon took umbrage with Doolittle’s delivery:

The issue appeared to stem from the motion Doolittle made with his left foot, a kind of “toe-tapping” gesture that Maddon believed had previously been made illegal. The official rules state that a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate during his delivery, a stipulation that had previously been violated by Cubs’ pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.:

Comparing the two motions, however, one would be hard-pressed to characterize Doolittle’s tapping motion as a full step toward the plate. Maddon clearly didn’t see it that way, and emerged from the dugout to dispute the pitcher’s delivery twice. Following Doolittle’s first-pitch strike to Albert Almora, the manager informed home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook that the Cubs would play the remainder of the game under protest.

An official decision has not yet been announced regarding the illegality of the delivery and the validity of the Cubs’ protest. According to league rules, “the game will not be replayed unless it is also determined that the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning.”

During the inning in question, however, the umpiring crew allowed Doolittle to continue his delivery. He helped secure the Nationals’ 5-2 win after inducing a groundout from Almora, striking out Kyle Schwarber, and getting a game-ending pop-out from Kris Bryant.

After the game, both Holbrook and Doolittle took issue with Maddon’s protest.

“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me,” Doolittle told reporters. “And it was kind of tired. I don’t know, sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game. So he put his stamp on it, for sure.”

Holbrook, meanwhile, said Doolittle did “absolutely nothing illegal at all.”