ShareThis Page

Moving Alvarez from spot at 3rd base discussed by Pirates

| Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, 5:15 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez throws out the Diamondbacks' Didi Gregorius during the third inning Thursday, July 3, 2014, at PNC Park.
Getty Images
The Pirates' Pedro Alvarez makes a play on a bouncing ball against the Diamondbacks on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Chase Field in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — Pedro Alvarez is out as the everyday third baseman, but the Pirates are not likely to consider a position change for him until after this season.

Alvarez was benched in the sixth inning of Saturday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks after making two erratic throws plus another throwing error. Josh Harrison started at third base on Sunday and likely will be there most of the time for at least the next couple of weeks.

“Whether (Alvarez) is unplugged or plugged, Harrison is more than a viable option,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Harrison is our best defender on the club right now at third base.”

Sunday, the Pirates signed free agent Jayson Nix, a utilityman who has extensive experience at third base.

Hurdle spoke by phone Sunday morning with general manager Neal Huntington about Alvarez's situation. Hurdle also huddled with assistant GM Kyle Stark, who was with the team in Arizona.

“It's a challenge right now, but we've got to figure out the best way to get (Alvarez's) bat in the lineup as much as we can,” Stark said. “There are some conversations that still need to be had amongst everybody involved.”

Alvarez is out of minor league options, so the Pirates cannot send him to Triple-A Indianapolis without putting him through waivers.

“As it is with any of our players, it's about trust,” Stark said. “Can we trust you to make the routine play? Guys have to win the manager's trust that they can do their job on a daily basis.”

Saturday, Alvarez made his major league-leading 24th error. All but three of his errors have come on wild throws.

“Anytime a player is struggling, I think it's a mix of mental, physical and fundamental,” Stark said. “A lot of guys go through stretches when the accuracy of their throws is not ideal. Pedro's going through that right now. I don't think he's abnormal in that regard. It's just that we're in a pennant race and it shows up a little bit more.”

Alvarez also went 0 for 3 on Saturday, including a strikeout with two runners on to end the sixth inning, which dropped his average to .235.

Last season, Alvarez tied for the National League lead with 36 home runs. He's hit 15 homers this year, but has gone deep just twice since July 1.

Even before the Pirates drafted Alvarez with the second overall pick in 2008, there were questions about his future at third base. He's made 109 errors in 550 games with the Pirates.

“People have been talking about position changes for Pedro for a while,” Stark said. “Our focus right now is the short term and figuring out how he can help this club on a nightly basis. We'll talk about position changes at some point, if we ever cross that bridge.”

When asked if he would be open to moving to first base, Alvarez said, “That hasn't been discussed,” as he turned and walked away.

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.