Alvarez opts to skip opening of winter ball

Alvarez opts to skip opening of winter ball

PHOENIX -- Pedro Alvarez will not head down to the Dominican Republic for the start of winter ball, but he is also not ruling out the possibility of joining a Dominican Winter League club at some point.

"For at least the beginning part of the winter, I need to get my feet under myself and get ready for next year," Alvarez said. "If the situation presents itself that winter ball might be something later on, we'll tackle it them. But, collectively, we all made a decision that right now the best thing for me is to get some rest, then start working out to get ready for next year."

General manager Neal Huntington said the organization supports Alvarez's decision to go back home at the end of the year and take a mental break after what has been a challenging season. In a year that was laced with expectations, Alvarez has hit just .189 in 67 games for the Pirates this year. Tuesday's second-inning solo shot gave him four home runs and 16 RBIs, totals that are nowhere close to the production the Pirates had anticipated.

Alvarez's tumultuous season has also included a lengthy stay on the disabled list and two stints in Triple-A.

"As we talked about it internally, we thought it was best to let him push the reset button, let him get home, let him get working on his offseason strength and conditioning program," Huntington said. "If he doesn't [end up playing later this offseason], we fully expect that he'll come into Spring Training ready to go physically, mentally and fundamentally to have a good season."

Alvarez's offseason workout and conditioning program will be monitored, as is the case with every player in the organization.