Cuban infielder Olivera headed to Double-A

Cuban infielder Olivera headed to Double-A

DENVER -- Power-hitting infielder Hector Olivera, the Dodgers' $62.5 million Cuban signing, will take the next step on the road to the Major Leagues Thursday when he begins an expectedly brief assignment with Double-A Tulsa.

Olivera, 30, was signed with the intention that he would provide a second-half boost to the roster and, with a six-year contract, soon become an everyday player.

Manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday said he hadn't heard where Olivera would play or for how long, and he'd received brief reports on Olivera's time at extended spring training in Arizona.

"They told me they think he's really good," Mattingly said.

Prior to his time in Arizona, Olivera had worked out at the Dodgers' academy in the Dominican Republic, waiting on a work visa that finally arrived last month to allow his official signing.

Olivera is considered Major League ready as soon as he works himself into game shape. With starting shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Howie Kendrick eligible for free agency after this season, and top prospect Corey Seager lined up to take over shortstop, Olivera is likely to be slotted into third base or second base long term.

Olivera is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. He has a .323 career batting average in Cuba with 96 home runs and 433 RBIs over 642 games, appearing primarily at first base and second base.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.