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Former Olympian Alvarez in White Sox camp

Minor League shortstop pushing hard to achieve his baseball dream
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Approximately nine minutes into his interview with MLB Network on Tuesday morning, Eddy Alvarez briefly disappeared.

He sprinted out of the camera shot with Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal to retrieve the silver medal won by the 28-year-old at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

CHICAGO -- Approximately nine minutes into his interview with MLB Network on Tuesday morning, Eddy Alvarez briefly disappeared.

He sprinted out of the camera shot with Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal to retrieve the silver medal won by the 28-year-old at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Although he was a little out of breath and joked he would have to do one less sprint during the day's workout, Alvarez proudly displayed the honor he achieved as part of the 5,000-meter relay in short track speed skating. Alvarez currently is getting ready to join the White Sox for Spring Training, but with the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea, Alvarez's past athletic life is garnering quite a bit of attention.

Spring Training information

"I've woken up a few times at 4 or 5 in the morning to watch competitions," said the always upbeat Alvarez during the MLB Network interview. "There are a lot of old teammates that I'm rooting for.

"It has been a little bittersweet. I would have loved to experience that experience again, but man, Go Team USA. I will always be an Olympian at heart."

Alvarez would like to become a White Sox Major Leaguer in mind and body.

Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger, who worked with hitting coach Greg Walker on the 2005 World Series championship team, recommended the organization sign Alvarez back on June 10, 2014. The switch-hitter has a .276 average and a .375 on base percentage over four seasons with the White Sox, posting 81 stolen bases in a career reaching as high as Triple-A Charlotte.

There was no big league camp invite for the shortstop, who is not listed among the club's Top 30 Prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline. If work ethic counts for anything, Alvarez's big league chances shouldn't be counted out.

Vasgersian talked about Alvarez's "Robert Newhouse thighs" at the interview's outset, referencing the powerful NFL fullback who found fame with the Cowboys. They also showed video of Alvarez squatting 435 pounds.

Video: LAA@CWS: Alvarez hits an inside-the-park home run

During a '17 Cactus League contest at Camelback Ranch against the Angels, Alvarez hit an inside-the-park, opposite-field homer while batting from the left side. But someday reaching the Majors would be a goal with the potential to top Alvarez's Olympic heroics.

"Winning an Olympic medal was surreal, incredible," Alvarez said. "But stepping on to the field will top that. Baseball is my first love and is my passion. I'm working hard.

"I knew I wasn't going to the Olympics and stopped skating," added Alvarez, who wore a USA hat during the interview. "Thankfully, I had an opportunity to put on the Red, White and Blue and represent our country. I knew I would give baseball a go, whether professionally or go back to college ... and thankfully the White Sox gave me an opportunity."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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