Fredi impressed with Olivera's bat, defense

Fredi impressed with Olivera's bat, defense

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Braves outfielder Hector Olivera had made 48 plate appearances entering Tuesday's game against the Astros, tied with Giants outfielder Jarrett Parker for the most across Spring Training.

That was by design, so the Braves could get a better sense of Olivera in his first Spring Training with the club, and so he could gain more experience facing Major League pitching. So far, Olivera is making the most of his chances.

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Olivera has 20 hits this spring (tied for second in the Majors) and eight RBIs and owns a seven-game hitting streak entering Tuesday with hits in 15 of the 16 games he has played this spring.

"I've got a better feel now of what [Olivera] can do," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think there's still a lot of upside there left."

After the Braves acquired Olivera, 30, from the Dodgers last season, he played in 24 games and had 87 plate appearances with mixed results. He batted .253/.310/.405 with a pair of homers and 11 RBIs. Gonzalez said he believes the power will come eventually for Olivera, but he has shown the ability to drive in runs this spring.

Where Gonzalez considers himself most impressed with Olivera is his ability in left field, the position where he started on Tuesday. Atlanta especially wants Olivera, who was an infielder in Cuba, to get reps in the outfield so he is comfortable playing there every day.

"I've really been pleased with his defense in the outfield," Gonzalez said. "I'll take it back, more than pleased with his defense in the outfield."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.