PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez was back on the bench for Tuesday's game against the Dodgers, even though he was cleared to return to the lineup on Monday. This time, though, Alvarez's absence had nothing to do with injury.
"Personally, I feel good," said Alvarez, who had been sidelined with right quad tightness. "I'll be available as needed."
Added manager Clint Hurdle: "He's healthy. He's absolutely healthy."
Rather, the decision to keep Alvarez out was prompted by Los Angeles sending lefty Ted Lilly to the mound. As Alvarez works himself out of an early season offensive funk, the Pirates would prefer that he do it against right-handers, who have always been easier for Alvarez to hit.
Alvarez, who should be back in the lineup on Wednesday, showed no signs of having any lingering issues with his right leg on Monday. Though he finished 0-for-3, Alvarez made three above-average defensive plays, including a terrific diving stop and throw to end the Pirates' 4-1 win.
At the plate, Alvarez has only five hits in his last 32 at-bats. His season average has dipped to .206.
"I'm very optimistic that I'm feeling a lot better," Alvarez said. "I think it's just a matter of time. With not playing for a couple of days, I was able to work on some specifics. The number one thing is just continuing to work. It pays off."