Minor league notes: Alvarez set to debut, Walker has MRI (Alvarez homers)

Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez, signed by the Orioles in late July, will make his debut for the organization when he plays this afternoon for the Gulf Coast League Orioles.

The 24-year-old Alvarez recently acquired his work visa, the last step before he could take the field.

Alvarez, who signed for $800,000, played for Camaguey in the Cuban League from 2007-11 and Tuxpan in Mexico in 2012. In five seasons with Camaguey, he batted .297 (341-for-1,147) with 37 home runs and 180 RBIs. In 2011, he set career highs by batting .363/.404/.613 (125-for-344) with 20 homers, 22 doubles, 81 RBIs and 65 runs scored.

"Hopefully, after a few games in Florida, we can get him up to an A ballclub," O's director of player development Brian Graham said. Alvarez would likely move to Frederick.

"We'll learn more when we see him in game situations. But I saw him last week and he's athletic. The ball comes off his bat extremely well. It's going to be fun to watch him play," Graham said.

Bowie first baseman Christian Walker has been out since July 29 with lower back soreness. He saw doctors last week and had an MRI on Friday, and the club is awaiting the results.

Walker, the club's fourth-round pick in 2012, has had a strong season, one that began at Single-A Delmarva, saw him move to Single-A Frederick and then Double-A Bowie, and also play in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in New York.

Over 103 games, he is batting .300 with 27 doubles, 11 homers, 56 RBIs and a .815 OPS. He is batting .242 in 17 games with Bowie, but has not played since Aug. 2.

Outfielder Josh Hart, drafted 37th overall in June by the Orioles, has been out since July 29 with a hamstring strain. He could return to play this week.

In 20 games for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Hart is batting .225 with no homers, seven RBIs and nine steals in 10 attempts.

Connor Narron underwent ankle surgery in late June to have a bone chip removed. He will not return this season. The O's fifth-round pick in 2010, Narron was batting .172 over 48 games between Delmarva and Frederick.

Right-handed pitcher Branden Kline, the club's second-round draft pick last season, will not make it back in time to pitch during the O's minor league season, but the club expects him to pitch during instructional league.

Kline had surgery May 23 to repair a right ankle/fibula fracture. He went 1-2 with a 5.86 ERA over seven starts for Single-A Delmarva, with 32 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings.

Updated: Alvarez started today, batting second and playing right field. He homered his first time up with the Orioles. Nice debut. Also, Hart did start today for the GCL Orioles.

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