Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Hector Olivera to play in minors Thursday

Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Hector Olivera to play in minors Thursday
Hector Oliveratries to turn a double play for Cuba during an exhibition game against Nicaragua. On Friday, the Dodgersadvanced him from double-A to triple-A. (STR / AFP / Getty Images)

Yasiel Puig is scheduled to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment Thursday and could return to the Dodgers lineup next week, Manager Don Mattingly said.

The Dodgers’ latest addition from Cuba, infielder Hector Olivera, is also expected to start playing in the minor leagues Thursday. Olivera is set to make his professional debut with double-A Tulsa, a person familiar with the situation said.


Olivera has been working out at the Dodgers’ spring-training complex in Arizona since finalizing his six-year, $62.5-million contract last month.

Andrew Friedman

, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, has said he expects Olivera to reach the major leagues this season.

Puig said in

spring training

that he knows Olivera well. Olivera’s father, Hector Olivera Sr.,


Puig is scheduled to play Thursday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in Lancaster. Puig is expected to play in the outfield.

Asked if Puig would be activated from the disabled list next week, Mattingly said, "I would think."

Mattingly said he didn't know how many games or at-bats Puig would need to prepare for his return to the Dodgers.

When Puig returns to the Dodgers, he is expected to reclaim his role as the team's starting right fielder. Andre Ethier, who has played right field in Puig's absence, would move back to left.

The rehab assignment will be the second for Puig, who has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained left hamstring. His previous assigment lasted only two games, as Puig re-injured the muscle.