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No winter ball for struggling Bucs 3B Alvarez

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Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

PHOENIX — Third baseman Pedro Alvarez and Pirates management have agreed he will not play winter ball, though there is a chance he could report to his native Dominican Winter League team for a few games toward the end of its season.

"We all made a decision that right now the best thing for me is to get some rest, then start working out to get ready for next year," Alvarez said. "If it's better for me to go later on in the (offseason), I can do that, but it's not definitive. For at least the beginning part of the winter, I need to get my feet under myself and get ready for next year."

Alvarez went into Tuesday's game against Arizona batting .189 with three homers and a .546 OPS.

"We felt it was best for him to push the reset button, go home and work on his strength and conditioning program," GM Neal Huntington said. "We fully expect he's going to come into spring training ready to go, physically, mentally and fundamentally, to have a good season next year."

» Right-hander Gerrit Cole, the top overall pick in the draft this year, is scheduled to play for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League.

» PirateFest will be held in mid-December at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. In previous years, the event was held at the end of January. The new date could boost ticket sales, allowing fans to give tickets as Christmas gifts. The annual Winter Caravan also is expected to shift its dates to mid-December.

» Manager Clint Hurdle will conduct a voluntary mini-camp in early January at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. Huntington has not yet decided whether everyone on the 40-man roster will be asked to attend or if the camp will be targeted toward certain players.

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