Cuban infielder Hector Olivera signed a $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers last week, but don’t expect to see him in the majors anytime soon. In fact, he’s not even in America yet.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Olivera remains in the Dominican Republic “waiting for a visa.” Once that happens he’ll travel to Los Angeles for a physical exam, which is a bigger issue than usual due to concerns about the health of his elbow and worries that he may need Tommy John surgery.
If he’s deemed healthy enough to play Olivera will begin his American career in the minors, but it’s not clear which level yet. Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe are manning third base and second base for the Dodgers, so there’s no sense that Olivera will be on the fast track to Los Angeles.
In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Yankees suffered yet another huge blow when another huge star went on the injured list. The star: Aaron Judge, who strained his oblique during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals.
Yesterday the Yankees placed him on the injured list. In so doing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called it a “pretty significant strain in there.” The team did not offer a timeline, but Boone said they’ll monitor Judge for a couple of weeks to see where he is. Oblique strains, however, can cause a player to miss a lot of time. Four to six weeks is not unheard of for even moderate oblique strains. Guys with major strains have missed months.
Judge is the Yankees’ 13th player currently on the injured list and is the 14th Yankees player to visit it overall on the young season. Joining him there at the moment :
It’s an All-Star team’s worth of injuries. It’s such a good group of players that Ellsbury couldn’t even make the starting lineup of the all-injured team.
Though we often ignore it in season-long narratives of successful and unsuccessful teams, choosing to focus on great or poor performances, the fact of the matter is that team health is almost always a big, big factor in who wins and who loses. No one is going to cry for the Yankees here, of course, but at some point there are just too many injuries to overcome. One has to wonder if New York has reached that point yet.