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June 29, 2008 June 29, 2008

Posted 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


1. Anonymous - June 29, 2008

good stuff as usual mike

since everyone seems to post negative things about bridgeport…

bluefish starter rafael bergstrom takes a no-hitter into the sixth against the barnstormers tonight…finishes with the win, 7 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts in front of a crowd of 4010 at the ballpark at harbor yard…5.1 no hit ball before a danny gonzalez single to right

2. playballnyy - June 29, 2008

sweet, thanks for the update, wish I made it to that game. Anymore info on Ezi and the “indefinite suspension”?

3. Anonymous - June 29, 2008

Ezi got 3 game suspension and unspecified fine.. will be playing again on Monday

Bergstrom pitched a great game.. glad he finally got a win at home..

Calvin Pickering stole second.. what a sight! the dugout erupted when he crossed the plate later


4. BoosterBabe - June 29, 2008

Darn it. Seems like the best game all season (I could have gotten behind rooting for Raf to get that no-no!) and I missed it.
Just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house last night.

Had my cat at the vet’s for a checkup. The bloodwork will be back tomorrow so we’ll know more then but…..her weight is down to 5.1 lbs (from 5.4 in December) and he told me there was noticeable “muscle wasting”. I’m taking her off that low-protein dry food. Vet didn’t tell me to but I have been reading about muscle wasting and when cats eat a low protein diet, their little bodies start metabolizing muscle mass to make up for it. How can that be good for her?? I’m sorry, I’d rather sacrifice her kidneys and put her down when they fail completely….rather than watch her not able to propel herself up on the bed, falling down when she tries to chase her little ball…hobbling to the litter box, etc. If you could see the look on her face when she tries to get up on the bed and misses…You’d agree with me that it’s heartbreaking to see someone you love so upset. I asked the vet if it was “time”, meaning, time to euthanize her. “Not yet” was his answer. He said her heart is very strong, so that’s good news. But I have a feeling the 2 years of stability have ended and we’re now on the down side of the hill.

That’s why all I really feel up to doing right now is hanging out with her. So we watched the Red Sox get beat in Houston last night.

Wanna hear something funny about my cat? Last Friday, I had the Extra Innings channel on during the Rain Delay in Boston. THey have annoying music playing before the feed pops on. I left it on so the game would come on when they came back from RD. Anyway, I”m in another room, doing stuff, I walk back into the bedroom, I hear voices. But they’re not talking baseball. They are talking hockey. What the…? Then I spotted Mandy laying next to the remote on the bed. She must have got sick of listening to the annoying rain delay music because she had changed the channel to the NHL draft!!!!! (seriously, the game was on channel 421 or something….the NHL draft was on 146)
I laughed so hard. She was laying with her head up, facing the tv too, so it looked like she was watching it! I said to her “When did you become a hockey fan??”

Maybe this is why I haven’t been interested in going to Bluefish games this season. Maybe it’s as simple as not wanting to be away from my cat any more than I absolutely have to (work, shopping, etc).
Speaking of work…I gotta get in the shower and get my butt outta here for work!!!!

5. Sharks52 - June 29, 2008

Riversharks signed catcher Cody Collet and took Jamal Strong off the roster. He never did play a game for them. Another good deal for the Ducks.

6. Anonymous - June 29, 2008

Anyone find out why Jamal Strong hasn’t played for Camden yet? He had been moaning all season about how he wanted to go back to Camden.

7. Anonymous - June 29, 2008

Good piece Mike. You guys have really picked up your game lately!


8. Anonymous - June 30, 2008

jamal strongs relitive is ill and he decided to retire

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