Pirates notebook: Wright glad to have Alvarez on Derby squad
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Friday, July 12, 2013, 8:06 p.m.
The message Pedro Alvarez sent Friday was louder and clearer than all the boos aimed by Pirates fans at New York Mets third baseman David Wright.
Folks were upset that Wright, the National League captain, bypassed Alvarez for the All-Star Home Run Derby squad. Wright was jeered during pregame introductions and each time he came to bat.
Wright was not spared even though Alvarez was added to the Derby roster Thursday when Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez withdrew because of a finger injury.
The boos turned to cheers in the bottom of the first inning when Alvarez mashed a two-run homer to center field. Before the game, Wright said he was happy to put Alvarez in the Derby.
“I made a list, and Pedro was right up there,” Wright said.
“As soon as Carlos said he couldn't do it physically, it was a pretty simple choice. I thought Pedro was very deserving from the start. I just ran out of spots.”
Gonzalez leads the NL with 25 home runs. Wright also chose Bryce Harper (a top fan vote-getter) and Michael Cuddyer (a close friend). Alvarez's 24 homers are second most in the league.
“I'd love to appease everybody, but it there just aren't enough spots,” Wright said. “I was almost hoping that some of my original picks would say no so I could at least move on to some of the other ones to include as many people as I could. No matter what you do, somebody — some city — will be unhappy.”
Wright sent a text Thursday asking Alvarez to join the Derby and got a quick reply.
“I'm ready to have fun,” Alvarez said. “It's going to be a neat experience. I'll have some high school friends and some family there.”
The Derby and All-Star Game will be held at Citi Field, not far from where Alvarez grew up in the Bronx.
“After talking with him, I knew how excited he was and how much he wants to do this,” Wright said. “I'm glad he was next in line for me to ask. Twenty-four homers doesn't hurt either. And with him being from New York, it was an excellent choice.”
Serve 'em up
Players can choose their pitcher for the Home Run Derby. Alvarez chose Rudy Pena, a former coach with High-A Hickory (2008), the Gulf Coast League Pirates (2009-11) and High-A Bradenton (2012). Pena is the nephew of former Pirates catcher Tony Pena.
At the 2012 Derby, Andrew McCutchen had Jon Spradlin, his coach from Fort Meade (Fla.) High School, pitch to him.
The Pirates got first baseman/right fielder Russ Canzler from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for right-hander Tim Alderson.
Canzler, 27, was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, righty James McDonald (shoulder discomfort) was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list.
Canzler batted .276 with 15 doubles, 11 homers and 49 RBI in 86 games this season with Triple-A Norfolk. He made 35 appearances at first base, 14 in the outfield, four at third base and one at second base.
“We're going to try to get him in some right field and third base opportunities to see how versatile he can be and see how the bat plays,” Hurdle said.
The deal closes the book on the Freddy Sanchez trade, which will go down as one of the bigger flops in franchise history.
On trade deadline day in 2009, the Pirates dealt Sanchez, a three-time All-Star second baseman, to San Francisco for Alderson.
The trade saved the Pirates from paying Sanchez $8.1 million option in 2010.
Sanchez hit .290 in 196 games for the Giants and got a World Series ring in 2010. Alderson, a 2007 first-round pick, hasn't reached the majors and spent most of his time in the Pirates' system with Double-A Altoona.
Rotation may change
Hurdle indicated there will be “a small shuffling” of the starting rotation after the All-Star break.
“We've got some ideas penciled in,” Hurdle said. “There's importance to not having too many gaps if you don't have to. We're playing the Reds coming out (of the break), and that will be part of the puzzle.”
Cincinnati has a slightly better team batting average (.250 to .249) and OPS (.729 to .715) against left-handed pitchers than against righties. But three of the Reds' top hitters — Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo — bat lefty.
Hurdle was asked if he's spoken with NL manager Bruce Bochy about how to use Pirates pitchers in the All-Star game. “(Jason) Grilli will be available,” Hurdle said. “We're still working through (Jeff) Locke's situation.”
Management can urge Locke not to pitch in the All-Star Game, but they cannot prevent him from making an appearance.
Locke will start Sunday's first-half finale, which in previous years would have ruled him out for the All-Star Game two days later because of the injury risk. However, the revised collective bargaining agreement allows all pitchers to be available for at least one inning in the All-Star Game if they choose.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Pirates agree with Barmes on 1-year deal
- Pirates claim 3 pitchers in minor league Rule 5 draft
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker
- First base options thinning as winter meetings go on
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Ex-Pirates great Parker’s long wait for Hall of Fame could finally end
- Film about former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis in prestigious festival
- Pirates notebook: Polanco ruled out as Opening Day option