Gabe Alvarez, a former Trojans shortstop who played third base for both the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres, was named an assistant coach by interim coach Frank Cruz. The three-time All-American will add valued experience and insight to the team.
Alvarez’s primary role with the team will be to work with the infielders, but he and assistant coach Doyle Wilson will coach all the hitters as well. His effect on star junior infielder Ricky Oropesa is something that could reap huge rewards for the Trojans’ baseball program.
Alvarez’s playing career at USC was successful, to say the least. He had a .338 career batting average and led the 1995 Trojan squad that reached the championship game in the College World Series. The 1995 team, with Alvarez, third baseman Morgan Ensberg, and outfielders Geoff Jenkins and Jacque Jones, was the first Trojan baseball team to make the CWS since 1978. Alvarez received many honors because of his outstanding performance.
Subsequently, Alvarez was drafted fifth in the 1997 expansion draft for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He never played for the Diamondbacks at the major league level. He made his major league debut with the Tigers in 1998 and was with the organization for two years, before ending his career with the Padres in the 2000 season. He played 92 total MLB games in his career.
His addition to the coaching staff could play a key role in whether Cruz keeps his job, and the level of success in infield play for the team.