ATLANTA - The Pirates have recalled third baseman Pedro Alvarez from Class AAA Indianapolis today and he will make his first start since May tonight when the Pirates play the Braves at Turner Field.
Alvarez, who will play third base and bat fifth in the lineup, filled the roster spot left vacant earlier today when the Pirates placed outfielder Alex Presley (left hand contusion) on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 23rd.
Alvarez hit .365 (23-for-63) with three doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 13 RBI in 18 games for Indianapolis, which included time on a rehab assignment. In his last 10 Triple-A games, Alvarez went 17-for-36 (.472 with a double, triple, three home runs, eight RBI, seven runs scored and a 1.353 OPS.
He began the season with the Pirates and hit .208 (26-for-125) with two home runs and 10 RBI in 36 games. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 20 with a right quad strain and played five rehab games with Indianapolis before being reinstated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A on July 9.
"I'm glad to be back and be a part of this team again," Alvarez said this afternoon. "But even when I was down in Indianapolis, I felt like I was part of this team and now I'm just glad to come up here and contribute to this team to help win some ballgames."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said today that the team would have ideally liked to have more time for Alvarez in Indianapolis but the loss of Presley, who is one of the team's best hitters, left them with no choice.
"We really can't put a timetable on [how long Presley will be out] and we're really not in the position to play short," Hurdle said. "This may have been a little sooner than we originally thought [to bring Alvarez up to the Major League team] but revisiting it, Pedro has made progress, he has been swinging the bat extremely well.
"Obviously we needed to add more offense since one of our best offensive players just been put on the DL."
Hurdle said that he expects Alvarez to be in the lineup every day and said he has made significant progress in his defense and his swing and he is hitting the ball well to the opposite field. He also has a much better routine for conditioing and as dropped some weight.
Alvarez said his time in the minors was well worth it because he feels like he has been well prepared to get back into the grind of playing major league baseball at a high level every day.
"We worked a lot down there, definitely," Alvarez said. "I hadn't played any games in so long that getting my timing right was the biggest concern. But definitely everything we did down there was worth more than gold in my preparation to get back up here.
"There is really nothing you can do but go forward and you don't gain anything by dwelling on the negatives so I viewed my experience as a positive -- it was an opportunity to work on the things I need to work on and polish some things up."
Hurdle said Alvarez is clearly a different player now than he was before he got hurt, but cautioned that there is no long-term plan for Alvarez to remain with the major league team for the rest of the season and that he doesn't need to come in and try to carry the team because he's had his most success when he just plays within himself.
"We don't need to get in front of ourselves, we brought him back, now let's let him play," Hurdle said when asked if Alvarez would remain with the Major League club for the rest of the season. "That will take care of a lot of it, just give him the opportunity to go out and play. The guys are happy to have him back, he had a twinkle in his eye today we hadn't seen in a while, he's happy to be back.
"He took all of the challenges to heart. We didn't bring him back to be the guy, he just needs to be the guy that he can be."
Alvarez said he has no expectations beyond what happens day-to-day and while he believes he is ready to become an everyday player and is confident he will do what it takes to prove he belongs on the Major League team, he knows some decisions are beyond his control so he will just keep working hard.
"I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to go out there and play," Alvarez said. "Obviously this is a very performance-based industry but I have every bit of confidence in myself that I can get the job done."