Neal Huntington told Rob Biertempfel today that if Pedro Alvarez’s knee soreness clears itself up, Alvarez will open the season with the Pirates and there’s no chance that he’ll be demoted to Triple-A to open 2012. He goes on to say that there’s nothing left for Alvarez to learn in Triple-A and that he needs big league at-bats to improve.
That’s obviously one way of looking at Alvarez’s struggles and it’s a theory that I more or less prescribed to myself when Alvarez was struggling last year, but the longer this goes on the less sure I am that this is the right course. It’s not a good idea to base any conclusions off of spring training stats, obviously, but Alvarez is struggling quite a bit this spring and he struggled last year and he wasn’t really all that great in Indianapolis when he was there last year, either. It’s not cut-and-dried, of course, and the team is better positioned to intrepret his spring training results than I am, but at this point it’s hard not to be concerned by any sort of struggles that Alvarez has, spring training or not. Hopefully I’m wrong here.