ShareThis Page

Pirates notebook: Alvarez's 0 for 3 night hinted at hot streak

| Friday, May 10, 2013, 7:24 p.m.
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez is greeted by teammates in the dugout after hitting a sacrifice fly during the sixth inning against the Mets on Thursday, May 9, 2013, at Citi Field in New York. “You’re not always going to get the results you want,” Alvarez said. “But as long as you get the approach you’re working on, the process, sometimes that speaks more than just getting a hit.”

NEW YORK — If Pedro Alvarez is on the upswing of another one of his torrid offensive stretches, the starting point should not be set at his towering home run Thursday against the New York Mets. Nor was it the infield single he legged out earlier in that game.

“No, I wouldn't say it was that,” Alvarez said.

What got Alvarez going? The 0-for-3 collar he wore Wednesday against Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

“It's going to sound kind of odd, but ... it was the first game in I can't tell you how long that he didn't swing and miss at a pitch,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Against King Felix, Alvarez popped up, grounded out and rolled into a double play. He saw 11 pitches: one was a called strike, two were balls, three were put in play and five were fouled off.

No hits, but ...

“You're not always going to get the results you want,” Alvarez said. “But as long as you get the approach you're working on, the process, sometimes that speaks more than just getting a hit.”

That means Alvarez got locked in. In the fourth inning Thursday, he singled off Mets righty Dillon Gee. It wasn't pretty — a dribbler that second baseman Daniel Murphy had to dive for, giving him no chance to make a throw.

But what's important is Alvarez got a tricky pitch, recognized it, reacted and was able to do something productive.

“It was a 3-2 changeup, and I got just a good enough piece to keep it up the middle instead of rolling over it,” Alvarez said.

Liriano's debut

It's been 228 days since Francisco Liriano pitched in a big league game. That streak will end Saturday, when the left-hander makes his Pirates' debut against the Mets.

Liriano broke his right humerus in late December, missed spring training, then made five minor league rehab starts.

“It was different to be pitching down in A ball in April,” Liriano said with a smile. “To be honest, I'm a little bit nervous about (Saturday). I just need to locate my pitches, get ahead in the count, not try to do too much.”

Liriano will be activated off the disabled list before the game. The Pirates must make a corresponding move, probably sending Duke Welker back to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Russell Martin has caught Liriano in the bullpen, a first step toward learning the pitcher's habits. If Martin's in the lineup Saturday — he was rested Friday, three days after his neck locked up during pregame warm-ups — he'll need a more thorough strategy session.

“In spring training, we talked a lot and we've talked a ton since I got here,” Liriano said. “If he catches me, I'll sit down with him before the game and tell him what I like to do so we're on the same page.”

Around the horn

Second baseman Neil Walker will appear on labels of Steel City Spicy Brown Mustard. The new-look condiment containers will unveiled at 11 a.m. Monday at Jerome Bettis' Grill 36. Walker (right hand laceration) was scheduled to play nine innings for Double-A Altoona on Friday. He's eligible to come off the DL on Sunday. ... Martin and Mark Melancon visited the New York Center for Autism Charter School's annual baseball clinic Friday. Former Pirates slugger Bobby Bonilla and several Mets players also attended. ... Charlie Morton (elbow surgery, sore shoulder) threw a bullpen session without any problems Friday at Citi Field. Morton's rehab assignment is on hold until his shoulder is back to normal.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.