On June 23rd, Alvarez was promoted to AA Altoona. �His stint with the Curve began with another slow week (3-for-25), but then Alvarez posted a 7-game hitting streak, and hit in all but 6 of his 25 games in the month of July. �He hit .351 in July, including two 3-hit games. �He also had 4 more home runs and 15 RBI. �Alvarez had four more 3-hit games in the first half of August, and over August/Sept, he hit .368, with 7 homers and 20 RBI. �He’d walked 10 times in June/July with the Curve, but started to get some intentional walks, and had 24 BB in August/Sept. �He still struck out a lot — 33 times in June/July and 26 times in August/Sept. �That gave him a .333 average for his time with the Curve, with 18 doubles, 13 home runs, and 40 RBI. �On the field, Alvarez made 12 errors while with the Curve, similar to his time in Lynchburg.
Physical conditioning has been a question mark for Alvarez, particularly because he is generally a big guy, and because he came to his first instructional league camp (fall of 2008) in poor condition. �In the past offseason, Alvarez made a huge commitment to fitness and conditioning and spent most of his time at a pro athlete conditioning facility in Arizona. �He arrived at spring training in super shape. �The 23-year-old has appeared in 12 Grapefruit League games with the Pirates this spring, and has gone 8-for-27 (.296) at the plate, with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 RBI. �Alvarez was optioned to AAA Indianapolis on March 18th. �The timing of the option had to do with the rule stating that a player who was not playing in the majors last year but who is injured during the rest of spring training this year must remain on the major league disabled list, thus starting the player’s major league service time. �Of course, the Pirates would like to delay the start of Alvarez’s service time until later in the 2010 season. �But, Alvarez was going to be optioned to Indianapolis to begin the 2010 season anyway, as the Pirates have stated that there are still some things he needs to address while playing at the AAA level. �They would like to see fewer strikeouts (realizing that he’s likely to always be a high strikeout guy) and more consistent fielding at third. �Being in better shape should help with his fielding. �We’re�looking forward to seeing him in Indianapolis in a few weeks, but if you want to see Alvarez play in Indy, you’d better get to Victory Field in the early part of the season.