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Pregame: Alvarez takes baby steps


PHOENIX — In one stretch during the series last weekend against the Dodgers, Pedro Alvarez walked in five out of six plate appearances. Over the past two weeks, he’s bumped up his on-base percentage 10 points to .270. During batting practice last night, Alvarez slammed two balls off the massive video scoreboard in center field at Chase Field. In the fifth inning, he drove center fielder Chris Young to the wall for a deep, deep fly out. While neither of those examples are any reason to crack open a bottle of bubbly, they still are signs of progress.

»»» The Pirates have been mulling holding their Winter Caravan and Piratfest in mid-December instead of the usual late-January dates. That theoretically would boost ticket sales, encouraging folks to slip a mini season-ticket plan in somebody’s stocking. It also would make things a bit easier on the players, who in the past have gone straight from the Caravan and Piratefest to spring training.

»»» It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but top draft pick Gerrit Cole will pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

»»The Pirates pitching staff has a 3.98 ERA — a dramatic improvement from last year, when it was a league-worst 5.00. That drop of 1.02 points is the best in the majors, ahead of gains by the Diamondbacks (who improved by 1.01 points) and the Brewers (who improved by 0.98 point). At the end of July, the Pirates’ ERA was 3.43, but the staff has posted a 5.22 ERA over the past 48 games.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Pirates (68-86) – 1. Alex Presley cf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Derrek Lee 1b, 5. Ryan Doumit c, 6. Garrett Jones 1b, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton rhp (9-10, 3.81)

Diamondbacks (89-65) – 1. Willie Bloomquist ss, 2. Aaron Hill 2b, 3. Justin Upton rf, 4. Miguel Montero c, 5. Paul Goldschmidt 1b, 6. Chris Young cf, 7. Ryan Roberts 3b, 8. Gerardo Parra lf, 9. Daniel Hudson rhp (3.39)



  1. joel says:

    I guess boy wonder Pedro is above playing winter ball. Prince Fielder is fat but Pedro he is 100 times a better ball player than you. If I was the GM and you refused to play winter ball and you had one more option you would spend all next year at Indy. Your body language is a disgrace and you approach at the plate is a disgrace. You were a complete waste of money.

  2. joel says:

    Pedro is taking baby steps???? Pedro your age tells me you are a [wink wink] man well then start acting like one. This is the real world and the sooner you figure it out the better. Right now you are a 6 million dollar bust.

  3. James Thompson says:

    Pedro has already said that he doesn’t want to play winter ball and the General Manager is willing to let him rest up and think about it. Fine, In the meantime, the Bucs need a slugger and Pedro should be traded for one and soon.

  4. Chuck H. says:

    Pedro is going to get his own way with Pirate’s management. Right now, he thinks he is better than he really is. But you don’t get better sitting around loafing. You get better with playing experience, even playing in a lower league in the off season. I predict that Pirate management will eventually give up on Pedro as a super star, and another team will take a chance on him. A similar case to Aramas Ramirez, the Cubs benefitted in a big way. In the game last night with the Diamondbacks, Jose Veras tried to give the
    DBacks a come from behind win, but the manager didn’t leave him in long enough. A couple more batters and the game would have been lost. I don’t know why we don’t send him packing. He is not an asset to the pitching staff.

  5. DaveIn84 says:

    Yeah James, it’ll be simple to trade Pedro for a slugger right now…..

  6. tomthebombtracy says:

    I don’t see guys like Posey, Smoak, Lawrie and Chisenhall taking “baby steps.” Huntington and his buddies drafted Alvarez ahead of them in the ’08 draft. Idiots.

  7. Beanman says:

    You can’t trade what doesn’t work. None of the bats work , to many strike outs! Need instruction on just making contact. Do we have any qualified instructors? I do believe in Hurdle, there will be a big shake up in the off season.He just got his feet wet with Pirate baseball this season.There will be changes, coaches and players! They can’t carry dead wood, non producers. Will be an interesting winter, keep an eye on the Pirate moves.

  8. James Thompson says:

    Why only “baby steps”?! We need a slugger in the lineup now, not after Pedro has finally gotten over his latest blue funk!

  9. James Thompson says:

    What Pedro and other Pirates players need, obviously, is enough incentive to come out of their collective slump, start tearing the cover off the ball, and to then live up to their early promise. Now if only such incentive existed right now, which it certainly doesn’t.

  10. samman says:

    I attended at least 6 games at PNC this season
    ” I want my money back”- I thought I was payiing for Major League caliber ball.

  11. samman says:

    How sad it is that the once great Pirates have sunk to this level.
    HOw sad indeed.

  12. James Thompson says:

    My cousin’s husband would go to seven or eight Pirates games a year before he developed heart trouble during the mid 60s and had to quit. But now, if he were still alive, he’d possibly be inclined to quit going to the games anyhow after 19 years of futility. And the same thing would likely be the case with other members of my mother’s family as well.

  13. James Thompson says:

    Yes, and aside from showing us his new swing and helping us beat the brewers on Monday night, Pedro struck out to end last night’s game, as if we didn’t expect much else from him by now.

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