Back In Shape

Alvarez comes to camp ready to go




BRADENTON, Fla.—Any concerns about Pedro Alvarez's conditioning were put to rest on the first day of spring training. The Pirates' 2008 first-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt reported in excellent shape.

Alvarez did not sign with the Pirates until Sept. 25 and reported to instructional league camp in the offseason out of shape. Scouts who saw him estimated the third baseman was about 30 pounds over his playing weight at Vanderbilt.

However, Alvarez was back to his listed college weight of 230 pounds when spring training began after spending most of January and February working out at the Pirates' training facility.

"I busted my butt to be in the best shape possible," Alvarez said. "I take pride in being in good condition. I wasn't going to report to spring training out of shape."

A few factors contributed to Alvarez being heavy in instructional league.

Alvarez, 22, worked out on his own for almost four months between the end of the college season and the time his agent, Scott Boras, finally came to terms with the Pirates. Alvarez was also bothered throughout much of last summer by tendinitis in both knees.

"I just couldn't work out the way I wanted to," Alvarez said.

Now that Alvarez is in shape, his next step is to work on damage control with Pirates' fans after becoming an unpopular figure in Pittsburgh last summer because of the Aug. 15 deadline saga.

"All I can do is show the fans that I'm a hard worker and willing to do whatever it takes to win and help the Pirates get turned around," Alvarez said. "I think once they see what I'm all about that they will like me."

Alvarez will likely begin his pro career with either high Class A Lynchburg or low Class A West Virginia.

PITTBURGERS

• The grand opening for the Pirates' new academy in the Dominican Republic is set for April 30. Club president Frank Coonelly has toured the other clubs' academies in the Dominican and says the Pirates' facility will rank among the top three on the island nation.

• First baseman Larry Broadway, who played in eight games with the Nationals in 2005, was signed as a minor league free agent after hitting .266/.354/.410 in 429 at-bats with Triple-A Columbus last season.