While much of the attention Friday was on Clayton Kershaw making his 2020 Spring Training debut, and to a lesser extent, Alex Wood pitching out of the bullpen for the first time this year, there additionally was intrigue with Yadier Alvarez.
He was among the relief pitchers who were on the travel roster to American Family Fields of Phoenix and the expectation was Alvarez would take the mound for his 2020 debut as well. However, he was not among the seven pitchers to enter out of the bullpen in the loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
According to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group, Alvarez had trouble getting loose and therefore was scratched from the scheduled relief appearance:
Yadier Alvarez was scheduled to pitch an inning v Brewers but “didn’t feel right” in the bullpen, according to #Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, and was scratched. No specifics available.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 28, 2020
The setback is another in what’s been a disappointing career for the 23-year-old. Once considered a top prospect in the organization, Alvarez was added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and spent some time in big league camp during Spring Training before the 2019 season.
That did not translate to success, as he only appeared in two games for Double-A Tulsa during the regular season, giving up six runs in 3.2 innings. Alvarez’s season came to an end when the Dodgers placed him on the restricted list in September because of multiple unexcused absences, removing him from the 40-man roster.
At his age and with a fastball that approaches triple digits, Alvarez still has ample opportunity to right the ship. He recently took accountability for his behavioral issues and vowed to be more professional in camp.
The Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Cuba to a $16 million contract on the first day of the 2015-16 international signing period. He represented the organization in the MLB Futures Game in 2017.
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