After spending the 2015 season playing baseball in Mexico, Oakdale’s Miguel Olivo, 37, is back pursuing a slot in Major League Baseball and has signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants for the 2016 season.
The deal, reported by ESPN Deportes and Baseball America, reportedly includes an invitation to major league spring training.
In 2014, Olivo was called up to the L.A. Dodgers on April 30 after hitting .390 with four homers in 15 games for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes. With the Dodgers he appeared in eight games, marking his 13th season in the majors. He was optioned back to AAA in May to make room when starting catcher A.J. Ellis came off the disabled list.
After returning to the minors Olivo got into a fight with a teammate, highly regarded prospect Alex Guerrero, and ended up biting off a piece of Guerrero’s ear. As a result, Olivo found himself out of professional baseball.
Olivo continued his passion playing the game and signed with the Tijuana Toros of the Mexican League for 2015. In 90 games, the seasoned veteran was able to hit an impressive .281 with 14 home runs in 90 games. Never known for his speed, Olivo was even able to steal 13 bases.
The Giants are currently set with their two major league catchers: Buster Posey and Andrew Susac, but injuries happen and a team can never have enough experienced depth behind the plate heading into a new season.
According to the Giants media department, if he has a successful spring Olivo will presumably open the 2016 campaign at Triple-A Sacramento, a short drive from Oakdale.
In parts of 13 seasons with seven different teams, Olivo has a career .240 batting average and is not shy about power with 177 doubles, 145 home runs and 490 RBI in 1,124 major league games.
Olivo was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics in 1996. He made his major league debut on Sept. 15, 2002 with the Chicago White Sox and hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat.
Olivo met his wife Gloria (Torres) who is from Oakdale, in 1999 while playing Class A minor league baseball in Modesto. The family, with six children, still resides in Oakdale.