Christian Colonel — R/R, 6′ 2″, 210 lb
Colonel was signed by the Pirates just a few days ago as a minor league free agent. The Idaho native was drafted by the Rockies in the 5th round in 2003. He advanced steadily in their organization, reaching AAA Colorado Springs for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 239 games with the Sky Sox over those two seasons, he hit .294 with 50 doubles, 4 triples, 19 homers, and 134 RBI. The 2010 season saw Colonel turn into a nomad — he played for five different teams in three different MLB organizations plus an indepedent team: AA San Antonio and AAA Portland (Padres), AA Mississippi (Braves), AAA Las Vegas (Blue Jays), and Southern Maryland in the independent Atlantic League. He hit the best for Las Vegas (.368 in 13 games) and Mississippi (.324 in 11 games), but managed just .107 for Portland (11 games) and .221 for San Antonio (39 games). That all shook out to a .251 average for the season (74 games), with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, and 22 RBI. Not much power, but Colonel also doesn’t strike out much nor take a lot of walks. He’s played all over the infield, though more at third base, and also some outfield. The 29-year-old could fill a utility role at Altoona or Indianapolis, but I’d guess Altoona is going to need him more.
Gerardo Alvarez — R/R, 5′ 11″, 180 lb
Alvarez, a California native, was drafted by the Orioles in the 16th round in 2002. He played in their organization for 6 seasons (2002 – 07), and reached as high as AAA Norfolk (2007) for 5 games. He did not hit over .260 in any of those seasons. In 2008, Alvarez played for Somerset in the Atlantic League, where he hit .178 in 87 games. He is listed as a third baseman, but has played all over the infield, with the most time at second base, plus a bit in the outfield, and even a little bit of emergency pitching. For the past two seasons, Alvarez has been coaching in the independent leagues. He managed the Oakland County Cruisers (Frontier League) (in Michigan) in 2010. Alvarez was signed to a minor league contract by the Pirates, but it might be a way to get him on board to coach in the lower levels of the Pirates’ organization. Or, the 32-year-old could serve as a utility infielder at Bradenton or Altoona.