Turning any baseball player from a position player to a pitcher, or the other way around, is a long shot in the best of cases. The Orioles were trying to pull this off with Cuban ex-outfielder Dariel Alvarez, who couldn’t really hit enough to make it in MLB but had a great arm in the outfield.
The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck reported on Wednesday that Alvarez’s conversion has been derailed by a familiar foe for pitchers: Elbow soreness, with Tommy John surgery expected to be the only solution. Alvarez had been assigned to Low-A Delmarva and never even managed to make it onto the mound there.
That’s some bad luck for Alvarez. Or perhaps making the conversion is always a dangerous proposition for one’s elbow. Either way, he won’t be able to begin the re-ascent to the big leagues until next year.
It’s an unfortunate development all around. For all of their outfield issues over the past couple of seasons, it’s telling what they thought about him that Alvarez combined for only 35 plate appearances between 2015 and 2016. He had not even been in the pitching picture for long enough to pin any hopes on him.
The Orioles never got around to taking Alvarez off the 40-man roster before attempting the conversion. That means he will be accruing service time on the MLB disabled list, and more than that, he will take up a roster spot over the offseason when there is no 60-day disabled list available.
All the best to Alvarez in his rehab from the injury.