Citing the lack of playing time as a third-string back-up catcher, and after asking for his release multiple times, Oakdale resident and Miami Marlins professional baseball player Miguel Olivo walked out of the dugout and “quit” the team during its June 14 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In response, the Marlins still didn't release Olivo and instead placed him on baseball’s restricted personnel list.
Since Olivo is on the restricted list he can't sign with another team nor will he continue to be paid the remainder of his 2013 salary.
Olivo and his wife, Gloria, a Modesto native, have lived in the Oakdale community with their six children since 2002.
“I told them I wanted to be released and they wouldn't give it to me,” Olivo said in a June 15 interview with the Miami Herald. “I don't understand why they don't release me. I told them I wanted to be released because I have 30 days of not playing. I need to play.”
Olivo, 34, played with the Seattle Mariners for the last two seasons but was released from his $3.5 million contract option. Olivo then signed with the Cincinnati Reds for 2013 but requested a release during spring training rather than accept a demotion to the minor leagues. He subsequently was picked up by the Marlins and signed for $800,000 this season.
Olivo was hitting .203 for the Marlins with four home runs, appearing in mostly part-time duty as a pinch-hitter or late-inning defensive replacement in only 33 games. He had just 15 at-bats since May 14 when primary catcher Jeff Mathis was activated from the disabled list.
The Marlins front office appeared to have a good relationship with Olivo, which is likely one of the reasons the team brought him in for the second time after he spent 2006 and 2007 with the team but fans in the area can’t understand owner Jeff Mathis’ refusal to give Oliva the release since neither party really have a use for the other.
After spending nearly a month on the restricted list, Olivo was reinstated to the franchise Wednesday afternoon, July 3 and then “designated for assignment.” The Marlins have 10 days from that time to either trade the 12-year major league veteran, release him – which was Olivo’s initial request, or outright him to the minor leagues.
For more of this story, read the July 10 edition of The Leader.