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Pirates' Alvarez: Don't tinker with a good thing

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez celebrates with Rod Barajas after homering during the eighth inning against the Giants on Friday, July 6, 2012 at PNC Park.

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vs. CUBS 7:05 p.m. Monday, PNC Park

TV/radio: Root Sports/KDKA-FM (93.7), WCNS-AM (1480), WJPA-AM (1450), Pirates Radio Network, XM 185

Probable starters: Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-8, 4.57 ERA) vs. Pirates LHP Erik Bedard (5-10, 4.55)

7:05 p.m. Tuesday: Cubs LHP Paul Maholm (8-6, 4.09) vs. Pirates RHP James McDonald (10-3, 2.93)

12:35 p.m. Wednesday: Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster (5-4, 2.11) vs. Pirates RHP Kevin Correia (7-6, 4.31)

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By John Grupp and Rob Biertempfel
Sunday, July 22, 2012, 7:24 p.m.

If Pedro Alvarez were the Pirates' general manager, there wouldn't be many phone calls taking place.

The third baseman said he believes the Pirates have everything they need to make a playoff run, making a trade-deadline move that could cost him a teammate or affect clubhouse chemistry unnecessary.

“I love every guy on this team,” he said Sunday. “I think we have all the components necessary to be able to succeed and keep succeeding. I think we have the right chemistry and the right group of guys. I just love the dynamic we have with this team.”

• If the Pirates make a deal, the front office has permission from owner Bob Nutting to add to its payroll. It's unclear how much Nutting is willing to add, although it could be a significant amount considering the Pirates have inquired about marquee players such as Arizona outfielder Justin Upton, Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino and Kansas City slugger Billy Butler. One target came off the market Sunday: San Diego gave outfielder Carlos Quentin a three-year contract extension that includes a no-trade clause.

• General manager Neal Huntington said he is open to trading the extra 2013 draft pick the team won in the competitive balance lottery. “It's another asset for us,” he said. “It's no different than a prospect in our system who we've placed a value on.”

• Right-hander Brad Lincoln got his first professional save Saturday but nearly lost something else. Not realizing it was a save opportunity, he was ready to throw the baseball to a fan after closing out a 5-1 victory over the Marlins. But clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett asked for the memento just in time. “Honestly, I didn't even know I was in (a save) opportunity,” Lincoln said. “I was about to toss it up into the stands.”

• The Pirates are one of three teams with saves by six relievers this year. The others are the A's and Giants.

• The Pirates are scheduled to play 20 games in 20 days from Aug. 3-22, and the plan is to use Lincoln or a pitcher currently in Triple-A — Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson or Jeff Locke — for a spot start to give the rotation a breather. Manager Clint Hurdle said the team will “do some creative things.”

— John Grupp and Rob Biertempfel

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