Bucs rookies are making an impact

Bucs rookies are making an impact

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager John Russell knew Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker would go through some growing pains. But he also knew the reason there was so much hype surrounding the recently recalled Minor Leaguers -- they can play.

It's why Russell is not surprised that the trio has combined to hit .340 (18-for-53) with 15 RBIs, 13 runs and two home runs entering Wednesday's game against the Brewers.

"It's a very talented bunch," the skipper said. "It's not just some young guys we called up that we hoped would do some good things. We knew at some point they were going to do very good things. We have to be cautious, [they're] hitting their stride. The stride's going to last hopefully a long time, but they are still going to go through some adjustments and they'll do some very good things."

Alvarez is 6-for-15 with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs; Tabata is 6-for-19 with five RBIs and five runs; and Walker is 12-for-19 with four RBIs and four runs.

Walker, whose 41 games is the most of the three, has been the most consistent of the newcomers and feels the overall success of an offense that has recorded 53 hits over the last four games is having a contagious effect on the young trio.

"They believe in themselves and they know that their abilities here are going to take them and help us win some games," Walker said of Alvarez and Tabata. "In the Minor Leagues, it's a lot more about personal development -- working on your swing and things like that. And when you get here, when game time comes around, when 7 o'clock comes around, it's time to compete and time to win."

-- Matt Fortuna