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Huntington: No plans to send Alvarez to minors

» On his weekly radio show, general manager Neal Huntington said there are no plans to send Pedro Alvarez to the minors to work out his offensive struggles. "He's a slow starter," Huntington said. "We're seeing signs he's getting to where he needs to be. He's squaring up some balls. He's not getting himself out or getting into pitcher's counts."

» Manager Clint Hurdle disputed the notion Alvarez is struggling because of players who hit behind him in the lineup. "Pitchers are absolutely going right after him, without hesitation," Hurdle said. "One of the biggest fallacies I've heard in the game is when people talk about, 'He has no protection behind him.' There might be a handful of players in the game that actually get pitched around. (Barry) Bonds, yes. (Albert) Pujols, yes. There might be one guy. But if he's hitting seventh, it's not going to be that guy."

» Huntington downplayed speculation that righty Stetson Allie, the second-round pick last year, will be assigned to short-season State College instead of Low-A West Virginia. State College opens its season June 17. "I wouldn't say it's a done deal," Huntington said. "He could make the jump to West Virginia because at that time of the year."

» The Pirates won't face the Brewers again until Aug. 22-24 at PNC Park, and it's a welcome respite. The Pirates have won every series this season against NL Central foes, except for their two sets against the Brewers. Hurdle was asked if his club needs to start beating the Brewers the way the Pirates of the late 1980s needed to knock off the Mets on their way to becoming contenders. "I understand where it's a watermark for some (people)," Hurdle said. "The volume of games that we've been underneath these guys gets your attention. That's part of it. But there's a lot more parts of it than just that."

» Both teams wore hats with camouflage bills in honor of those who serve in the Armed Forces.

» Evan Meek threw one inning for Triple-A Indianapolis today. He allowed no runs, hits or walks. He struck out one batter and threw 12 pitches.

Additional Information:

Pirates game day

at NATIONALS

7:05 p.m., Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.

TV/radio: Root Sports/WPGB-FM (104.7), XM 185

Probable starters: Pirates LHP Paul Maholm (1-5, 3.60) vs. Nationals LHP John Lannan (2-4, 4.79)

Next: at Nationals, 1:05 p.m. Tuesday

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