O's optimistic Alvarez will join offensive surge

Free-agent acquisition began season batting .167 (4-for-24) in platoon role

O's optimistic Alvarez will join offensive surge

ARLINGTON -- Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez has been the least productive member of the heavy-hitting Orioles lineup thus far, but manager Buck Showalter is confident that the former Pirate, who came to Baltimore as a free agent in the offseason, will find his swing.

Alvarez is batting .167 (4-for-24) with only one extra-base hit, a double, and one RBI in eight games. He hit 111 homers over the past four seasons with Pittsburgh, slugging .456, but he's posted a .208 slugging percentage through Sunday.

Alvarez has typically been a slow starter, hitting .192 in March and April with an OPS more than 100 points lower than in any other month. Showalter expects the DH to get better.

"He's been a great fit, he's worked hard," Showalter said. "He got a little late start in the spring, but he's had some good at-bats here lately. ... I think he's going to be a contributor.

"It's the first time the guy's ever changed organizations; it's different for him. He's seen one way, and we've learned from him and try to make his path a little easier. ... If anything, he's trying too hard to fit in -- he's going to fit in naturally. He's good people."

Alvarez has been a platoon player this season, sitting against lefties, and the Orioles have faced three southpaws in 11 games.

The slugger also hasn't played defense yet, which he is used to doing nearly every day, having spent his entire six-year career in the National League. Showalter said Alvarez will see some defensive action, but with a good fielder at first base in Chris Davis and dynamic AL Gold Glove Award winner Manny Machado at third, the Orioles don't really have room for Alvarez in the field.

"He's going to have to play some first base, third base. He's going to have to play some defense," Showalter said. "That's one thing I wish I could get him out there for."

So all Alvarez can do to help the Orioles is start hitting.

"You've got to trust the track record," Showalter said. "He's been a good offensive performer for a while."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.