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Pirates Make Jim Benedict Special Assistant to GM

Joining the Pirates as a special assistant to Huntington will be Jim Benedict, who most recently worked as a Major League scout for Cleveland. Prior to Benedict's two years with the Indians, he spent six seasons with the Yankees as a scout and special assistant to baseball operations. After a brief Minor League playing career, Benedict broke into the Majors as a scout for the Rangers in 1990.

Benedict also worked as a pitching coordinator for the Expos (1994-1999) and Dodgers (1999-2000) organizations. He would've worked closely with new Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, who was the Expos' pitching coach from 1992 to 1996, so I assume both Kerrigan and Neal Huntington, who worked with him in Cleveland, like him.

The Pirates reassigned Jesse Flores, who previously had been a special assistant, making him their West Coast scouting supervisor.

-P- Some ambiguous news, also from the Pirates' website:

"It was [Pedro Alvarez's] first taste of professional ball, so he had to adjust to it," pKyle] Stark said. "He had to work to get back into playing shape, but the bat speed was there, quickness was there and the tools were there like we expected."

While relatively informal in structure, the instructional league offered Stark and other coaches the opportunity to assess Alvarez's physical conditioning following the layoff. Stark said that Alvarez did arrive in satisfactory playing shape, but that the focus this offseason will be for Alvarez to continue to improve on that conditioning.

"His goal now is to be ready to go for Spring Training," Stark said. "He's got a specific routine and specific strength and conditioning program until then."

I don't know why the writer doesn't notice the contradiction between the first paragraph, where Stark says Alvarez wasn't in playing shape, and the second, where the writer baldly asserts that he was, but whatever. This may not mean anything, but it sounds like Alvarez simply didn't show up ready to play.