Found August 20, 2012 on Pirates Prospects:
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A 162 game season is a lengthy one. Staying consistent throughout the entire year is tough. There’s hot streaks and slumps, and Pedro Alvarez has recently been on the downside of things. But after a lengthy session with Manager Clint Hurdle, who also served as a hitting coach with the Texas Rangers in 2010, the third baseman looks like he’s on the right track of breaking out of it.

Alvarez has gone on streaks this season. And when he’s hot, he goes on a tear. Over a 14 game stretch in June, the third baseman went 19-for-50 (.385 average) with seven home runs and 19 RBI. But he was recently on a cold stretch, combining to go 10-for-47 (.212 avg) with just one double over a 14 game stretch in late July.

“He’s doing it due diligence, whether it be physical work,” Hurdle said. “We don’t want to overwhelm anybody with video. I think there is times where it’s appropriate, then there’s times I do think there’s way too much of that done. We’ve been smart with the video. We put the physical in. He’s always been a kid that will work physically. We’ve actually been able to ramp that back.”

“For Pedro, we’re all on the same page. It’s his first move. It’s finding that comfort zone in the box where I’m firm, but ready. I’m not passive. A lot of guys want to relax and be clam. Pedro, I don’t think needs to be relaxed and calm. I think he needs to be firm and he needs to be ready. His first move sets up his whole swing. When he strikes that first move, everything falls into place. We’ve seen it time and time again where we’re miss connected on the first move, you see the break down through the swing.”

Since working with Hurdle, there have been some good signs of Alvarez breaking back out of it again. Since August 10, Alvarez has gone 11-for-39 (.282 avg) with two doubles, and two homers, giving him 23 on the season.

“We had a lengthy session,” Hurdle said. “A lot of good work. The thing that we continue to revisit is he needs to be ready to hit the fastball. That fastball on the outer third, he needs to be ready to hit because that’s where they’re throwing it. When you don’t hit that, you’ve got to hit the other stuff. And the other stuff’s hard.”

“The focus was just trying to get comfortable, feel comfortable,” Alvarez said. “Just extra work and trying to move forward and progress.”

After picking up a three hit night with a home run to straight away center field and a double on Thursday, Hurdle said that it was a good sign.

“I’m a big fan of any of our guys putting good at-bats [together],” Hurdle said. “Petey put the work in. I think we saw a better approach. Fired early. He stayed on some pitches. For him to drive the ball to center field is always a good sign. That barrel stayed from back of the plate front of the plate before the barrel got out so that’s a good sign.”

“Anytime you can put a couple good at-bats together it’s a huge plus,” Alvarez said. “The name of this game is just consistency. That’s the hardest thing to achieve. As long as you play this game, you try to achieve that. All I can do is keep going out there, keep battling. Every time I get an opportunity to play, I just try to take it to my full advantage and be aggressive. Just play, and have fun.”


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