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Alvarez among 8 players sent to minors

BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates this afternoon made eight cuts, including third baseman Pedro Alvarez.

Alvarez and pitcher Ron Uviedo were optioned to Class A Lynchburg. Right-hander Jimmy Barthmaier was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pitcher Jeff Sues and catcher Steve Lerud were optioned to Double-A Altoona.

Juan Mateo, Shelby Ford and Daniel McCutchen were reassigned to minor league camp.

Alvarez, the Pirates’ first-round draft pick last year, was not surprised when he was called into manager John Russell’s office around 1 p.m. and was told he was being sent out.

“It was a lot of fun,” Alvarez said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I took it all in, and it was great. It was a great thrill and I learned a lot.”

Prospect Jose Tabata was not be included in this round of cuts. He’s in the lineup for tonight’s game against Tampa Bay. Tabata will be sent to the minors once Eric Hinske and Brandon Moss have recovered from injuries.

• The Pirates’ lineup for tonight’s game:

Pirates — 1. Nyjer Morgan lf, 2. Freddy Sanchez 2b, 3. Nate McLouth cf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Adam LaRoche 1b, 6. Jose Tabata rf, 7. Craig Monroe dh, 8. Andy LaRoche 3b, 9. Jack Wilson ss.

• The Pirates will honor Steve Blass before the April 13 home opener against the Houston Astros. This year marks Blass’ 50th year in the Pirates organization.

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