Hurdle showing faith in struggling Alvarez

Hurdle showing faith in struggling Alvarez

Hurdle showing faith in struggling Alvarez
BALTIMORE -- Manager Clint Hurdle is committed to third baseman Pedro Alvarez. All he's asking for is a commitment in return.

Alvarez has been struggling all season, entering Thursday's series finale with a .191 average and just three hits in his last 35 at-bats. But Hurdle is set on keeping Alvarez in the Majors for the time being, as long as the third baseman settles on a consistent approach at the plate.

"There's a pretty good chance a player like Pedro, you send him down, he's going to do fine at Triple-A," Hurdle said. "I think this is a guy that we've made an investment in, that we've got to make a commitment to. If I'm going to ask him to make a commitment at the plate, I think there's got to be a commitment on my part as well."

Alvarez was in the Pirates' lineup on Thursday, as he started at third base and batted sixth.

Hurdle wants Alvarez to approach every at-bat the same way rather than make adjustments with every out. Constant change makes it difficult for a hitter to settle in and find success at the plate, according to Hurdle.

"You've got to give it some time," Hurdle said.

Hurdle has consistently encouraged Alvarez to keep swinging without worrying about his 65 strikeouts through 178 at-bats this season.

"A swinging bat is a dangerous bat," Hurdle said. "You're going to live with strikeouts. It's not as big a deal as it used to be. That's something I had to get over as a hitting coach. When I played, I had coaches say they'd rather give up a small body part than strike out. It's not the same way anymore."

Hurdle praised Alvarez's ability to keep his struggles at the plate from bleeding into his fielding and baserunning, saying that Alvarez gets secondary leads as well as anyone on the team.

"There's no moping or brooding when he gets on base, ever," Hurdle said. "He's dealing with this very professional, the challenges that he's having. That also gives you optimism that he's pushing. He's pushing and he's giving it everything he's got to work through this."