"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.