March 12, 2017

Pedro Alvarez has agreed to a minor league contract to return to the Baltimore Orioles, hoping to earn a job after agreeing to a deal in the middle of spring training for the second straight year.

A person familiar with the negotiations said the corner infielder, who mostly was a designated hitter for the Orioles last season, would get a $2 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the agreement had not been announced and was subject to a physical.

Alvarez would have the chance to earn $3.5 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $250,000 each for 200, 250, 300 and 350; and $500,000 apiece for 400, 450, 500, 550 and 600.

A left-handed hitter who turned 30 last month, Alvarez batted .249 with 22 homers and 49 RBIs last year after finalizing an agreement with the Orioles on March 10. He was mostly a platoon player, getting 334 of 376 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers.

Because the Orioles added outfielder Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo is likely to be a DH after agreeing to a $37.5 million, three-year deal, a role for Alvarez is unclear. He likely will be used in the outfield during spring training.

Alvarez spent his first six big league seasons with Pittsburgh and was an All-Star in 2013. A third baseman for most of his career, he developed throwing problems and was shifted to first base late in the 2014 season.

He spent 2015 at first and Pittsburgh declined to offer a contract after the season, not wanting Alvarez to be eligible for arbitration. He beat the Pirates in arbitration the previous winter, getting a $5.75 million salary rather than the team's $5.25 million offer.

Alvarez had a $5.75 million base salary last year and earned $200,000 in performance bonuses.

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