SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles prospect Dariel Alvarez is one of the dozen outfield prospects in camp this spring, and a lot will have to change over the next five weeks for him to climb onto the 25-man roster, which is why there has been speculation that the club might try to convert him into a pitcher.
Alvarez has a terrific arm and he did pitch years ago in Cuba, but he said Saturday morning that he remains focused on being a hitter and outfielder.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here and I think I have the chance to be here and compete," he said through interpreter Ramon Alarcon, "so I just want to stay healthy in order to compete."
He said the team has approached him about making the switch -- which was made recently and successfully by reliever Mychal Givens -- but he's not ready to do that.
"They have approached me about becoming a pitcher, but for the moment I'm a hitter," Alvarez said. "That's where my mindset is right now is to be a hitter. The things I've done so far are as a hitter, so I look at myself as a hitter right now."
Alvarez did pitch 22 games in Cuba over three seasons, according to Baseball-Reference.com. When asked what particular pitches he has in his repertoire, he said he throws a fastball, curveball and slider.
Givens made the switch and was 8-2 with a 3.13 ERA in his rookie season last year, but Alvarez said he has not talked to Givens about the transition.
"No, I have not spoken with him about it," he said. "Right now, pitching is not in my mind. That is something that has not crossed my mind yet."