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Hector Olivera will play some left field in Winter League

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Hector Olivera will be a key piece of the Atlanta Braves' lineup next season, but the team still isn't sure what position he will be playing.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Hector Olivera played third base in his short stint with the Atlanta Braves this season, but the team is undecided on where he might fit long term and will have him spend some time in left field while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Braves are looking to enhance Olivera's defensive options. It doesn't mean that Olivera won't be at third base when the season opens.

Still, the Braves have made it clear that this does not mean they are hoping to use Olivera as their primary left fielder next year. It's simply a decision that enhances his defensive versatility and provides the club a chance to get a feel for what their needs might be over the next few years.

While Atlanta figures to explore several free agency options, they have several expensive in-house candidates that could see time in left field. Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher are both under contract for next season and Cameron Maybin could be shifted to the corner spot if a better option in center field emerges. Adonis Garcia is another name that could figure into the left field/third base discussion.

As Bowman point out, when the Braves were chasing Olivera in free agency last winter, the thought was that he would end up in left field if Atlanta had been able to sign him. Olivera may end up in left eventually, but the current roster makeup makes it less likely for next season.