Pedro Alvarez only got one defensive chance Friday during his outfield cotillion in the Orioles’ B game, but his handling of it showed there was little apprehension about the move that could resurrect his career.
Alvarez had one defensive chance, a sinking line drive in the right-center field gap. It landed a few steps from him, but Alvarez dove and snared it to hold the runner to a single.
Dive and miss, and all the worst fears about the Orioles taking a player who was defensively challenged on the infield dirt and making him an outfielder would be emblemized in one play. But in making the play, Alvarez’s first impression on the outfield grass wasn’t a bad one.
“He handled that in-between ball alright,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Really, you’re better off keeping coming, because if you step back you take that short-hop. … Once you start going and commit, you’ve got to keep going."
“It’s just one of those things where you let the game kick in, instincts kick in and it just happens,” Alvarez said. “That’s a testament to that, and it’s always nice to be diving around on the field.”
Overall, Alvarez said it was a “different” look at his new position than he was used to.
“I’ve been going out there as much as possible to get a comfortable look and a comfortable feel, and I felt pretty good,” Alvarez said. “I’m happy with where I’m at and obviously when it’s games, it’s a little different. I’m glad I was able to feel comfortable, and I know I’m only going to feel more and more comfortable with each rep that I get.”
Of course, the reason for all this change in Alvarez’s life is to get his bat in the lineup. And in the B game, when Showalter got Alvarez, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and J.J. Hardy lots of at-bats, it was Alvarez who shined. He homered in his first at-bat and doubled on either side of a strikeout to finish his day.
Davis had a double as well, but that was the only at-bat of note from the major leaguers. Cedric Mullins, an outfielder who spent all of last season at Low-A Delmarva, hit a home run high off the batter’s eye in center field in the fourth inning.
Mike Wright started and got four innings of work in, with Darren O’Day pitching two frames and left-handers Keegan Akin and Tanner Scott getting an inning of work apiece.
“Mike was good,” Showalter said. “A little adjustment he and Roger made, he carried it out in the game. And Darren got his two-inning stint under his belt.”
Santander exam complete: Showalter said the team was still “taking in” the results of Rule 5 outfielder Anthony Santander’s MRI-arthrogram, where dye is injected to give a clearer picture, on his right elbow. Santander is only just resuming outfield work after offseason shoulder surgery. He had his elbow, which Showalter said there were previous issues with, examined to see if there was anything structural they needed to know about.
Either way, Santander will miss a few days while waiting for the dye that was injected into his elbow to dissipate.