Lefty Alvarez excited for opportunity with Halos

Lefty Alvarez excited for opportunity with Halos

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Jose Alvarez is on his third team in three years, from the Marlins in 2012 to the Tigers in '13 to the Angels as of Sunday morning.

"I wasn't expecting that," Alvarez said on his first day in the Angels' clubhouse, 24 hours after being acquired from the Tigers in a one-for-one deal that sent out-of-options utility infielder Andrew Romine to Detroit.

"I take it like a new opportunity in my career. We'll see what happens now."

Alvarez -- 24 years old, with two option years left -- posted a 5.82 ERA in 38 2/3 Major League innings last year. But he improved drastically in the Minor Leagues, going from a 4.22 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and a 2.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 136 1/3 innings in the Marlins' Double-A affiliate to a 2.80 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and a 4.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 128 2/3 innings in the Tigers' Triple-A affiliate in 2013.

"Playing in winter ball last year, before I came here with the Tigers, helped me a lot," the native Venezuelan said. "I had a good year last year, and I just kept working."

Alvarez is generously listed at 5-foot-11 and keeps his fastball between 89 and 91 mph, but he features an above-average changeup and a breaking ball that's a legit third pitch. A report in Spring Training two years ago said that Alvarez was set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, but Alvarez said that was erroneous and he's never had any issues with his arm.

The Angels view him either as a starter in Triple-A or a long reliever in their Major League bullpen.

"I feel comfortable doing both, from starting to relieving," Alvarez said before pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs' Triple-A team on Sunday, giving up three hits, walking none and striking out five. "They're different, but you have to make adjustments. As a reliever, you have to pay attention to the game, be ready at any time. As a starter, you're going to be in one game -- throw everything there."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.