Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/17/12
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Pedro Alvarez had been in yet another offensive free fall for the Pittsburgh Pirates, this one a 4-for-42 slump that dropped his average to .197 and raised anew questions as to whether he should be in the majors.

And then, boom, boom, boom, boom, Alvarez reminded all concerned why he remains perhaps Major League Baseball's most confounding player. He homered twice Saturday, then twice again Sunday in Pittsburgh's 9-5 romp at Cleveland. In all, he produced four home runs in a span of seven at-bats, as well as piling up nine RBI.

"That's what Pedro's capable of doing," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's got one of the biggest swings you'll see anywhere and, fact is, we don't have anyone else like that."

That's why the Pirates again stuck by Alvarez during yet another agonizing stretch where he wasn't protecting the outer part of the plate, wasn't driving the ball the other way, wasn't swinging at meatballs right down the middle.

"I believe in myself and my ability," Alvarez said. "I know I can play at this level."

The question now will be how to take advantage of it. The last time Alvarez had a spurt like this, Hurdle rushed him into the cleanup spot. That proved to be a huge mistake that brought on the next nose dive. Now, he's likely to remain at No. 5, while Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee split cleanup.

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