But Wednesday, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sat his starting third baseman against a righty for the first time since June 5 for what Hurdle called a "performance break."
Alvarez is 0-for-15 career against the Brewers' Wednesday starter, Yovani Gallardo.
The same goes for shortstop Clint Barmes, who also took a seat in favor of Jordy Mercer, who was recalled earlier Wednesday from Triple-A Indianapolis after John McDonald went on the 15-day disabled list. Barmes is 1-for-17 career against Gallardo.
"I've seen them go to bat against this guy for two straight years," Hurdle said. "This is the third year, so we'll try something different."
The 26-year-old Mercer had played nine games for the Pirates this season. He was called up May 3 when second baseman Neil Walker went on the disabled list, then sent down Monday before making a quick return to Pittsburgh 48 hours later.
Entering Wednesday, the Oklahoma State product was hitting .258 with three home runs and four RBIs in 31 at bats, including a two-homer effort against the Mets on Saturday. For Hurdle, Mercer's performance this month and quick recall indicated a growing depth and strength throughout the organization.
"[To go] get Mercer, still fresh, who just left, it's good," Hurdle said. "And I'm able to plug him right back into the lineup, which is another benefit."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.