Oakdale’s Miguel Olivo could be one wicked foul tip or home plate collision to Buster Posey away from getting the call back up to the major leagues for the 2016 season.
Olivo, 37, who signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants in January, was the starting catcher for the AAA Sacramento River Cats in an exhibition game against their big club at Raley Field on Wednesday evening, March 30. Despite going 0-for-3, Olivo’s spring stats as of that time still showed an impressive .600 batting average with one home run; far ahead of any other competitor as the starting backstop in AAA system – or even the two rookies competing for the second catcher position with the Giants.
With former MVP Buster Posey set as the Giants catcher, his presumed understudy is rookie Trevor Brown, who only has 13 games of MLB experience from a September call-up last season. After the Giants on March 31 optioned Andrew Susac to AAA, who was struggling with soreness in his right wrist that was operated on last fall, the Giants are still anticipating that Susac will catch regularly for the River Cats when the wrist issue subsides.
But there may be other options on hand for the River Cats manager Jose Alguacil. The only other catcher aside from Olivo on the River Cats roster is veteran catcher George Kottaras, 33, but he is only hitting .160 this spring. Between Olivo and Kottaras, the two veteran catchers have a wealth of big league experience between them with 1,437 games behind the dish. The River Cats open their season on Thursday, April 7 in Salt Lake City.
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.