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LaRoche reassures Alvarez

It won’t be long before Pedro Alvarez takes over at third base, which will force Andy LaRoche to either find a new position — second base remains very much a possibility, even with Akinori Iwamura on the roster — or accept a greatly reduced role.

Last month, while they both were at Instructional League in Bradenton, Fla., LaRoche pulled Alvarez aside for a private chat.

“I (told him), ‘don’t feel uncomfortable around me. If you’re ready, we need you in the lineup. I’ll go play another position,’ ” LaRoche said. “I don’t want him to think I have any animosity toward him.”

LaRoche got only a brief look at Alvarez at third base, but said the former first-round pick appears trim and athletic enough to handle the position.

“He looks smooth over there,” LaRoche said. “He’s got a good, accurate arm. And, obviously, he rakes. Even if he’s not a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman, his offense more than makes up for it. I’m sure, as a worst-case scenario, he’ll be (like) Ryan Braun at third base. If he puts up numbers like Ryan Braun did, that’s great.”

· LaRoche and a few other players are in town this week for routine physical exams and light workouts at PNC Park.

· LaRoche looked grim when he was asked about the departure of former infield instructor Perry Hill.

“No comment on that,” LaRoche said. LaRoche added he would like to work out this winter with Hill, if the Pirates will permit it.

· According to the Palm Beach Post, the Florida Marlins wanted to re-hire Hill, but the Pirates would not give permission for Hill to interview for the job. The Pirates exercised Hill’s contract option for 2010, which means they can block him from working for another major-league team next year.

· After he was traded to the Pirates, Jeff Clement played only first base for the first time in his career.

“I’m not sure what the plan is, going into next spring,” Clement said. “But I’m hoping I still have a chance to catch. That’s where I’d like to be the most.”

That could be an option if Ryan Doumit is traded, but it also would depend on Clement’s knees. Clement has had two minor surgeries to repair the meniscus.

“If my knee can hold up, I’d love to catch, whether it’s as the everyday catcher or the backup,” Clement said.

· Wednesday, the Pirates will release their 2010 spring training schedule. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18.

Comments

  1. I bet Pedro Alvarez will arrive at PNC Park w/ an attitude, fail miserably as a player and then in teh final year before a new contract is due he will crush teh ball and play golden glove baseball in the field

  2. Mark says:

    “If he puts up Ryan Braun’s numbers at third base that’s great.” Safe to say that is a severe understatement. If he puts up Braun’s numbers at third base they better buy arbitration and get him extended ASAP.

  3. USMarine1977 says:

    I sure hope you’re wrong. I would love nothing more than to hopefully soon feel some of that magic no Pirates fan has felt since the early 90′s. I used to love baseball, but for obvious reasons I rarely find myself catching a game anymore. It’s hard to root for a loser year in and year out when there’s not anything even minutely resembling a light at the end of the tunnel. Alvarez is the first real reason Pirates fans have had to be excited in a loooooong time.

  4. mario says:

    hey BUCCOS lose 100, the more negativity you send the pirates way, the tougher it will be for them to change the culture, yeah they suck, but its just a game, i used to be cynical like you, it doesn’t help… its not life or death, its a game… get a life

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