After being sent down to AAA by the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of this season’s spring training, Oakdale resident Miguel Olivo is destroying minor league pitching in his attempt to make a Major League comeback.
Initial reports had stated that Olivo, now 35, had asked the Dodgers for his release and was not going to report to the Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA affiliate for the Dodgers organization, after the team informed him he was not on the roster for their season-opening series in Australia.
The 11-year MLB veteran accepted the designation and as of Friday, April 17, was hitting an impressive .372 with four home runs in 11 games to start the minor league season.
Olivo had a productive spring with a .263 batting average, as he was battling for a roster spot against established Dodger catchers A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz. Early this season, Ellis suffered a knee injury and Olivo expected to make the major league club, however Dodgers officials decided to go with the career .180 hitting Drew Butera, who was out of options.
Currently, Federowicz is hitting only .091 in six games with the Dodgers and Buetera is batting .192. Ellis was hitting only .167 with the big club when he went down with the injury after seven games.
Olivo had the first Isotope multi-homer game of the season on April 15 hitting two out of the park in a four-RBI performance.
The hot streak continues as Olivo is responsible for four of the team’s 14 homers this season and had a 5-game hitting streak to start the campaign. In his last game as of press time, he went 2 for 3 with an RBI double in the Isotopes’ 2-1 narrow victory against the El Paso Chihuahuas on April 17.
“Miguel still brings that energy and love for the game,” said Isotopes manager and former big league ball player Damon Berryhill, when contacted by The Leader. “He’s handling our young staff really well and he’s been great in the clubhouse – seems like he’s still hungry.”
Olivo was signed originally by the Oakland Athletics and met his wife Gloria, who is from Oakdale, while playing Class A minor league baseball in Modesto.
Last season the journeyman catcher left the Miami Marlins in June after they refused to grant his release for lack of playing time. Olivo was very vocal about his lack of playing time when he asked for his release but the Marlins decided to put him first on the restricted list before releasing him in July. By not granting Olivo his release until nearly a month later, the Marlins were able to make it difficult for Olivo to sign with another team.
Olivo batted just .203 with four home runs and 23 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances last season in only 15 starts for the Marlins.