Alvarez, Walker get brief test against lefty

Alvarez, Walker get brief test against lefty

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates were looking for both Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker to get in multiple at-bats on Saturday against a quality left-hander. However, neither Matt Moore nor the Tampa Bay fielders cooperated.

After allowing five hits and seeing his defense make one error and loosely play other balls, Moore's day ended before the first inning did. Alvarez and Walker, thus, got one at-bat each against the southpaw.

"What is it they say about 'Best-laid plans?'" asked Jeff Banister, the bench coach who managed the Pirates' 10-5 win over the Rays as manager Clint Hurdle spent the day at Pirate City, getting a close look at some of the organization's prospects. "We set up the lineup to get those guys some at-bats against a left-hander, but in that first inning, the boys came out and barreled up some balls and made [Moore] pitch."

"I don't think Moore's had too many days like that," Walker said.

Walker did single in this only meeting with Moore (Alvarez hit the ball squarely, but got under it and flied out to right), leaving him 2-for-3 against lefties in exhibitions. The switch-hitter's spring focus is improving his production from the right side.

"Sometimes it's nice to see a starter a couple of times through the order, to be honest, but we strung together some decent at-bats and are in a pretty decent place right now as a team," Walker said. "I'm just trying to make good contact [against the lefties]. I'm happy, very happy with where I am right now."

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.