The Orioles had only just begun converting outfielder Dariel Alvarez into a pitcher, but it seems that move will be put on hold. Alvarez has suffered an elbow injury that is likely to require Tommy John surgery, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports on Twitter.
Alvarez, 28, began the move to the mound mid-way through camp. At the time, manager Buck Showalter explained that the reason for the timing was that the club wished to see what it had while Alvarez still had options remaining. Though he had two entering the season, he likely won’t be ready to pitch again until the 2018 campaign is already underway.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Alvarez in the Baltimore organization. He could make it back much sooner from the surgery if he were to return to playing the field, though obviously the club had soured on his prospects of contributing in that capacity. Though Alvarez cracked the majors briefly in each of the past two seasons, he hadn’t done enough with the bat in the upper minors to justify more than spot duty. (Last year, he slashed just .288/.324/.384 at Triple-A.)
Perhaps there’s a scenario where Alvarez returns as a hitter and then attempts to pitch again when he’s ready. Regardless, while the team can place him on the 60-day DL for the time being, it’ll be hard for the O’s to continue carrying him on the 40-man roster at the end of the current season.