Pirates' Alvarez nearing first base debut
It will not be long before Pedro Alvarez gets his first taste of game action at first base, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Monday.
“He's working his backside off to find a level of comfort and say, ‘OK. I'm ready to go over there in a major league game,' ” Hurdle said. “I think we're real close to that. There will be a day here soon when you'll see him over there.”
Alvarez, whose erratic throws cost him the starting job at third base, is taking lessons at first base every day before batting practice.
Alvarez worked for about a half-hour Monday with coaches Dave Jauss and Nick Leyva. Looking relaxed and smooth, Alvarez fielded grounders and made different throws to second base, first base and home plate.
“There is a point in time where you've got to find out where you are,” Hurdle said. “You can do all the practice drills you want. When you get into a game, you always have an opportunity to identify some areas you've got to work on.”
Alvarez's first base debut probably will not happen before this weekend, when the Pirates play a road series against the Washington Nationals.
Alvarez was on the bench for Monday night's home game against the Detroit Tigers. When the Pirates play interleague games in Detroit on Wednesday and Thursday, he likely will be used as the designated hitter.
Management opted to try the position switch as a way to get Alvarez's power bat back in the lineup for more than just pinch-hitting appearances.
“Anytime a person struggles ... it's not fun to watch,” first baseman Ike Davis said. “It hurts. You know the guy's trying as hard as he possibly can.
“Petey's a good enough athlete that he'll be a good first baseman. He'll probably be really amazing at it. But it takes a little time to get used to being around the bag and your footwork, avoiding runners and different kinds of things.”
Alvarez has spent a good amount of time working on his footwork and situational positioning, receiving pickoff throws and making lobs when the pitcher covers the bag.
“The position isn't all that hard to play, but it's very hard to play well,” general manager Neal Huntington said.
Davis smiled and admitted the defensive demands are not as great at first base as at third.
“You don't have to throw that much, which is good,” Davis said. “You're in every play. When your third baseman or shortstop makes a great play and throws the ball 100 mph across the diamond, you're expected to pick everything. If you don't, it's like you're the one who messed it up.”
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.
- Alvarez’s walk-off single lifts Pirates over Padres
- Pirates notebook: Four players selected for All-Star Game
- Starkey: Burnett writing incredible final chapter
- Torn thumb ligament puts Pirates’ Harrison on 15-day disabled list
- Gameday: Pirates vs San Diego Padres, July 7, 2015
- Pirates get journeyman Ishikawa off waivers; outfielder Marte injured
- Alvarez homer triggers winning outburst for Pirates
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Padres, July 6, 2015
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate