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Pirates notebook: Alvarez sits against righty Gallardo

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez was out of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher Wednesday for the first time since June 5 last season when Alvarez sat against Cincinnati's Homer Bailey. Brandon Inge got the start at third.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he gave Alvarez a day off because of Alvarez's career numbers (0 for 15) against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo. The left-handed Alvarez is batting .190 this season.

“I've watched him go against (Gallardo) for two straight years, and this is the third year,” Hurdle said. “We'll try something different.”

Alvarez has a better average against lefties (.226) than righties (.179) this season.

• Infielder Jordy Mercer was recalled from Triple-A Wednesday just two days after being sent down to Indianapolis. Mercer replaced John McDonald, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after straining his back Tuesday.

• Pirates backup catcher Michael McKenry made throws from second to first prior to Wednesday's game. “It's just a different throwing technique to help his mechanics,” Hurdle said. “He's a one-position guy right now. Sometimes, you get them out of that mentality behind the plate and put them in a different environment.” McKenry is 1 for 23 in throwing out basestealers this season.

• Pirates right-hander Jeff Karstens (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Wednesday. He was not sure of when or where he would throw next. Karstens pitched three innings at High-A Bradenton on Monday, allowing one run.

• Hurdle on Pirates lefty Jeff Locke: “I like his mound presence. He's not (Yankees great) Whitey Ford. But it reminds me of the days when my father explained Whitey Ford to me. He's not the biggest guy in the park, but he gets all the biggest guys out.”

• The Brewers called up veteran right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

— Travis Sawchik

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