FORT MYERS, Fla. – Pedro Alvarez had a wonderful first at-bat for the Orioles. Batting fourth and playing first base, Alvarez smacked a double high off the left-center field wall to score a run.
In the third, Alvarez tried to bunt against the shift in his second at-bat before hitting into a fielder’s choice. He sent a long fly to left in the fifth inning before leaving the game in the sixth.
Manager Buck Showalter was confident that Alvarez, who signed with the Orioles on Thursday, was going to be a worthy addition to the Orioles.
“I’m going to play it by ear with him. He’s fine. He’s ready to go. At least three at-bats. If he comes out before that, you’ll know something’s wrong,” Showalter said.
Showalter said that Alvarez, who played a flawless first base on Sunday, won’t be restricted to DH duties. Alvarez will also get time at third, his original position with Pittsburgh.
“(Yes), we might even slip him in the outfield in a “C” game. Keep in mind that minor league games are getting ready to kick off. He could very easily lead our team in plate appearances this spring,” Showalter said.
Showalter has seen Alvarez play in interleague games and some during spring training, but wants to make his own judgements.
“You hear a lot of things. Somebody tells us, ‘He needs to do this. He needs to do that. He did this…this problem. Stop. I heard that same stuff about a lot of guys that didn’t turn out that way. Plus I’ve got a lot of confidence in our players and our culture and our coaches and his teammates. Some guys have been on different clubs three, four, five times. This is his first one, so there’s a real opportunity, the way I look at it,” Showalter said.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who don’t know the environment a guy gets in some times. Not that it’s bad there, it’s just things kind of snowball in this game. Now, the snowball stopped and it’s up to him and us to move it the other direction,” Showalter said.
The Orioles took a $5.75 million flyer on Alvarez, who could earn up to $1.25 million more in performance incentives.
“He doesn’t have to apologize for anything. He’s been pretty good, okay. There aren’t a lot of guys floating around that hit 20 or 30 home runs every year and played on good competitive teams that are in the playoffs. I told him, ‘You’ve got a lot to be proud of.’ He’s got a chance to be the real find of the offseason the way I look at it,” Showalter said.
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