Meanwhile, the Orioles are engineering a position change for former outfielder Dariel Alvarez, as Meoli further reports. The live-armed 28-year-old will go to minor-league camp and hopefully earn a job in the low minors as a reliever. Baltimore has had success with such transitions in the past, having done the same with current MLB hurler Mychal Givens — which also provides the team with a blueprint for Alvarez. While Alvarez will continue to spend some time working on his bat — he fell off in the power department last year but has been productive at times in the upper minors — the focus will turn to the mound. The timing of the move was driven by Alvarez’s contract situation, manage Buck Showalter suggested. “[L]ooking at the landscape, we don’t want his optionable status to come and go,” said Showalter. “Someone is going to do this at some point. We’ve got this year and next year to option him. Perfect world, he’s knocking on the door as a pitcher next year.”
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Key Orioles hurlers Chris Tillman (shoulder) and Zach Britton (oblique) appear to be progressing as hoped. As Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun tweets, the pair of hurlers just completed bullpens without issue, though it’s still not known when they’ll be ready for competitive action. Needless to say, the O’s are counting heavily on both pitchers, and will hope to see them take the mound in a spring contest sooner than later. For the time being, though, it’s encouraging that they’re continuing to maintain forward momentum.
- Much the same situation holds true with regard to Red Sox southpaw David Price, who recently was diagnosed with a flexor strain and bone spurs. While it has only been a few days, he could be ready to throw again as soon as Friday if he feels up to it, manager John Farrell told reporters including Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter). It still seems hard to imagine that Price will be able to ramp up in time to be ready for Opening Day — at least, while maintaining a sufficiently cautious approach — but the Red Sox are no doubt concerned more with avoiding any hiccups on his way back.
- The Red Sox aren’t yet ready to declare Pablo Sandoval the starting third baseman, but Silverman argues the team ought to go ahead and acknowledge that fact. While the club couldn’t have been sure what it would see from Sandoval this spring, he has not only shown up in shape but has provided evidence that he’s ready to return to being an effective player. Whether Farrell is using the situation to maintain motivation, or has other reasons, he’s not ready to say that Sandoval has regained his job at the hot corner. And that’s just fine with Sandoval, who says that’s not his primary objective. “I do have goals, but my goals are to be healthy,” Sandoval tells Silverman. “If I’m healthy and continue to work, I think I can help my team win games.”