Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Alvarez Wins His Case Embraces Challenges in Full-Time Shift to 1st

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Alvarez Wins His Case Embraces Challenges in Full-Time Shift to 1st

Article excerpt

BRADENTON, Fla. - Pedro Alvarez had a good first day Thursday, learning that he won his arbitration case and taking the field healthy after an injury ended his 2014 season early.

Alvarez's victory concluded the Pirates' arbitration hearings and dropped their record against players to 1-2 this year. A panel of arbitrators chose Alvarez's $5.75 million salary figure rather than the Pirates' $5.25 million. The Pirates won their case against second baseman Neil Walker and lost against first baseman Alvarez and pitcher Vance Worley. Alvarez made $4.25 million in 2014, his first year of arbitration eligibility, and has one more year of eligibility remaining.

Speaking a few hours before the three-person panel's decision was made public, Alvarez declined to comment on Wednesday's hearing.. Instead, he talked about resuming the process of preparing to play first base and recovering from the stress fracture in his left foot that cost him the final month of last season.

"Once, pretty much, the offseason started, pretty quickly I was able to jump back into activities and get ready for the season," he said.

Alvarez, 28, hit .231 with a .312 on-base percentage and 18 home runs, down from 36 in 2013. He committed a major league-leading 25 errors, 24 of them throwing, while playing third base as he struggled to make the routine throw to first.

"I think it's important to try to learn as much as you can from every instance that you go through, good or bad," he said. "I like to think that every day that goes by, I'm learning more and more, and continuing to grow as a player and as a person."

Alvarez began the transition in early August of last season but started only five games there before injuring his foot Aug. 26 when he dived for a Kolten Wong ground ball down the first-base line against St. Louis. He took grounders at first all winter. …

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