Orioles sign Pedro Alvarez to minor league deal

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Pedro Alvarez is staying in Baltimore. The Orioles announced today that they have signed the designated hitter to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.

Alvarez, 31, will earn $1 million if makes the major league roster and can earn up to $2 million in performance bonuses. This is the third straight year Alvarez has signed with the Orioles and his second consecutive minor league deal. He played in 109 gams for them in 2016 but only 14 games in 2017, as he and the O’s tried unsuccessfully to convert him into an outfielder.

Credit to Alvarez for trying and for accepting the minor league assignment to do so. I’m curious as to whether he’d be willing to do that again if he does not make the club out of camp this year.

Aaron Judge out of Yankees starting lineup for finale after No. 62

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Yankees slugger Aaron Judge wasn’t in the starting lineup for New York’s regular-season finale, a day after his 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League single-season record.

When Judge homered in the first inning Tuesday night, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, it was his 55th consecutive game. He has played in 157 games overall for the AL East champions.

With the first-round bye in the playoffs, the Yankees won’t open postseason play until the AL Division Series starts next Tuesday.

Even though Judge had indicated that he hoped to play Wednesday, manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday night’s game that they would have a conversation and see what made the most sense.

“Short conversation,” Boone said before Wednesday’s game, adding that he was “pretty set on probably giving him the day today.”

Asked if there was a scenario in which Judge would pinch hit, Boone responded, “I hope not.”

Judge went into the final day of the regular season batting .311, trailing American League batting average leader Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315. Judge was a wide leader in the other Triple Crown categories, with his 62 homers and 131 RBIs.

Boone said that “probably the one temptation” to play Judge had been the long shot chance the slugger had to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.