BRADENTON, Fla. -- Over seven Grapefruit League games this spring, third baseman Pedro Alvarez has three hits over 16 at-bats. Two of those three were home runs that were crushed to the opposite field. One came on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the other on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Alvarez worked hard over the offseason to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 season where he batted just .191 over 74 games with Pittsburgh.

"The looseness of the muscles, not being too bulked up," Alvarez said on his offseason workouts. "I have a little more flexibility in my swing and I'm able to stay through some balls and let the ball get deep. It's not so tense because all your muscles are so tight and wound up"

"I get that whip and can really use my hands, and separate my bi...

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