June 29, 2008 June 29, 2008Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
Abe Alvarez Answers Ashmore: During Long Island’s recent trip to Somerset, I was able to catch up with former Boston Red Sox P Abe Alvarez. Alvarez was a member of the 2004 World Series team — if only for one start — and was released by the Red Sox earlier this season after five and a half seasons in their organization.
Quickly signed by Camden, he was traded several days later to Long Island for Jamal Strong, who was yet to actually appear in a game for the Riversharks.
Alvarez and I talk about his experience on the Red Sox, how he found out he was getting a World Series ring, and being traded for the first time in his career…
AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com: Boston picked you in the second round of the 2003 draft. Take me back to draft day, what was that like for you?
Abe Alvarez: “Oh, it was great. I was with Long Beach State, and we were actually in regionals. We were getting prepared for either our Super Regional or our Regional. We had practice, so I woke up in the morning. We left the hotel, and I listened to the first round on the way and it didn’t come in time, so I had to practice. I went to practice, and while I was practicing, I got congratulated there and I had no idea. My agent called me and was like, Boston selected you in the second round, congratulations. And I was like that sounds great. I was really excited, but I was also in the zone of being in college and getting ready for the regional.”
ALB: You made it up to the big leagues the next year. What was it like getting up there so quickly?
Alvarez: “It was crazy. I didn’t expect it. ’03 I got drafted and went to short season, and then I was in Double-A in ’04 and my manager tells me I’m going to the big leagues to pitch in the day game. I was kind of shaken at that moment, but then I settled in. I had a couple of days to get ready for it. But being there in the big leagues and being able to experience throwing at Fenway Park, it was incredible.”
ALB: Long term, do you feel like getting up there as quickly as you did affected your development as a pitcher at all?
Alvarez: “I don’t think it hurt me. I still pitched my game in that game. A big league strike zone is different than any other strike zone, and I couldn’t find the zone. I thought I pitched an OK game. Now that I think about it and look at it, I would have gone about it differently. But I don’t think it hurt me in the long run. I went back to Double-A that year, and I didn’t go back up until ’05, when I was in trips (Triple-A). I don’t think at affected me at all, because in ’05 in Triple-A, I started out well again and got the opportunity again.”
ALB: You were only with the ’04 team for a brief amount of time, but could you tell that there was something special going on there?
Alvarez: “At the time I was there, I don’t think so. It was July, and Nomar was still there. There was some things, when I got called up…I got sent down before the second game of the doubleheader, and there were still some things going on. I could sense that something was going on and they were trying to put a team together to do what they did. And obviously everybody saw what they did, coming back against the Yankees and then sweeping the Cardinals.”
ALB: Getting a World Series ring…did you think you were going to get one? And what does it mean to you to have it?
Alvarez: “I had no idea. I was at home watching the World Series and I wasn’t even thinking about it like if they win it, I get a ring or I might get a ring. I was just excited with how they did it and they way they came back, it was a pretty special moment in baseball. I didn’t know until I was in spring training, and they told us we have ring measurements tomorrow. I was just sitting there, and I didn’t even think anything about it then when they said that. One of the guys on the team in spring training came back from doing his, and he said your name’s up there. And I was like, “What?’ So I came in there, and Alan Embree was still on the team and he goes, “Go ahead, enjoy it.’ So I was like sweet.”
ALB: You’d been a starter for the majority of your career before the Red Sox attempted to convert you to a reliever. How did that end up happening?
Alvarez: “Last year, I came back from the All-Star break, and it was that every time I’d been to the big leagues, I’d been in the pen except for that one start. So I imagine they thought if I was going to get to the big leagues, I’d be in the bullpen. They switched me to a reliever after the All-Star break, and I just went with it. It didn’t bother me at all. If it’s the way they thought I’d be in the big leagues, obviously I would take the opportunity and do the best I could. It took me a while to get adjusted. They dropped my arm angle and things like that. But I adjusted it to pretty good at the end of the season and this season too. But I went with it because I had been in relief before and it worked out, so I wasn’t hurt by it or bothered by it.”
ALB: So how did you end up coming to the Atlantic League?
Alvarez: “I was sitting at home, and I didn’t want to just sit at home. I knew there were independent leagues, and I knew the Atlantic League was one of the premier independent leagues. My agent said he got a call from the Camden Riversharks, and that’s where I ended up first for a couple days, and then I got traded over here. I knew that if I still wanted to play, my best opportunity would be in this league. So I took the opportunity right away and went to Camden, and then four days later I get traded to another team. That was kind of awkward. But I’m good in my situation right now, and I’m happy to be with the Ducks.”
ALB: Trades in this league aren’t the most common thing. Did you have any idea you might get dealt?
Alvarez: “I had no idea. We finished a game and I was just hanging out and chilling with the guys. Then the general manager comes in and goes, ‘Sorry, I didn’t think this was going to happen, but we traded you to the Long Island Ducks.’ And I said OK, if you need to make a deal, that’s fine. I just went with it. Obviously, it’s worked out. I’m happy to be here, it’s a great town and it’s a great place to play.”
ALB: The trade aside, what has your experience been like in this league?
Alvarez: “Great. A lot of great teammates. I’ve met a lot of guys, and there’s been guys that I do know on different teams. Everybody’s here for a reason, everybody still wants to play baseball and still compete and get a chance to get picked up by a Major League team and make it to the show like everybody else. I can tell more guys have fun in this league, because it’s more about just baseball. It’s all good, good fun.”
ALB: How do you feel like you’ve been throwing the ball so far?
Alvarez: “It took me a couple days to get my body back and my arm, from being at home. I was throwing at home, but being game ready took a while. The past couple games and the past couple outings, I’ve felt strong in my arm and my repertoire with how I’ve been throwing the ball. I’m pretty confident and positive about that.”
ALB: Do you have any hopes of maybe going back to being a starter in this league at all?
Alvarez: “To me, it doesn’t matter. I mean whatever gets seen by scouts or teams or whatever helps to win games here, it all doesn’t matter as long as I’m pitching and having a good time here. Right now, I’m comfortable. But if they ask me to start, I’ll start.” – Mike Ashmore