BRADENTON, Fla. -- Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is looking for consistency this spring. During the 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at McKechnie Field on Saturday, Alvarez went 0-for-3 -- all three were strikeouts. Over his past two games he has gone hitless. But just last week, Alvarez connected for two opposite field home runs.
"Today he got into some receptive swings early," Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. "Especially off [Rays right-hander James] Shields. He was very deceptive for us today. He changed speeds extremely well. Seemed like when we’re looking hard, he threw soft. When we were looking soft, he threw hard. There’s been some games where Pedro’s been locked down, swinging well. We just got to keep working with him to find that consistency and that balance."
So far this spring Alvarez is batting .174 over 10 games (24 at-bats). The Pirates said that he will get the first crack at third base to start the 2012 season.