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Slugger Pedro Alvarez to return to Orioles on minor league deal, pending physical

SARASOTA, FLA. — Another long offseason without a home for slugger Pedro Alvarez ended Saturday with an agreement to rejoin the Orioles, though this year it's on a minor league deal.

According to an industry source, the agreement is pending medical review.

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Alvarez, who hit .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs last season with the Orioles as a platoon designated hitter, will rejoin an organization that benefited greatly from his bat in 2016 but doesn't have an immediate fit for him this year.

Perhaps because of that, Alvarez has agreed to try to work out as an outfielder in an effort to make himself more versatile for the club. Alvarez was on the major league roster all season last year, but seldom played the field and at times hamstrung the team because of his lack of a position.

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Last year, the Orioles and Alvarez came to an agreement on March 7, bringing the slugger who was nontendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates into a crowded corner infield mix. His arrival last year forced Mark Trumbo into an everyday right field role, with Chris Davis at first base and Manny Machado at third base.

Alvarez made a base salary of $5.75 million, and of the available $1.25 million in incentives, he earned $200,000 for making over 350 plate appearances.

His agreement this year is full of performance incentives and worth a base salary of $2 million if he makes the majors.

This year, however, the landscape has changed. The Orioles don't immediately have a spot for him on the 40-man roster, and the addition of outfielder Seth Smith as a regular along with Trumbo's return means there's no real need for a player whose only role is to serve as designated hitter against right-handed pitching.

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Because there's so much time before he can opt out of his contract for the first time, the team views it as something of a test run to see if he can hold his own in the outfield or fill a need in the major league lineup elsewhere.

As it stands now, he'd be competing in camp for a 25-man roster spot with fellow nonroster players such as outfielders Craig Gentry, Michael Bourn and Chris Dickerson, plus infielders Chris Johnson, Johnny Giavotella and Robert Andino.

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this story.

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