Alvarez continues to progress toward return

Alvarez continues to progress toward return

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez's stint on the disabled list could end as early as Sunday, though the third baseman remains at least days away from rejoining the big league club.

Alvarez, who is sidelined with a right quadriceps strain, remains in Bradenton, Fla., where he is playing in extended spring training games. After serving as a designated hitter in two games, Alvarez has twice played third base.

The fact that Alvarez was cleared to play defense is an encouraging sign, as it was Alvarez's mobility that was hampered most by the quad strain. The Pirates have not divulged how long they expect Alvarez to remain in Florida or whether the third baseman will head to one of the organization's Minor League affiliates for a rehab assignment next. The latter move is expected, however.

Alvarez isn't the only player currently rehabbing in Bradenton. Starter Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder posterior strain) continues to throw bullpen sessions there, while reliever Mike Crotta (right elbow posterior inflammation) is at Pirate City working through a throwing program.

Kevin Hart, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, is also throwing in extended spring games and will continue to do so through the end of the extended spring schedule.