Pat notices something about Pedro Alvarez that I also noticed while I was at McKechnie:
Every time I see Pedro, he seems nice and respectful and he seems to always be working hard (I don't know if it's apparent from any of my pictures, but he's not bigger than he was last year and if anything, he's maybe a bit trimmer with some more muscle), and Pirate fans act like he's Jabba the Hutt. I don't get it.
Right. Now, I admit that my ability to assess someone's weight and level of fitness by just looking at them might not be perfect, but Pat's description of Alvarez as actually looking a little better, physically, than he looked last year seems about right to me.
The backstory here, of course, is that before Spring Training started, Paul Ladewski reported that Alvarez had gained "at least 15 pounds" in the offseason. I asked Neal Huntington about it at PirateFest, and he indicated that although Alvarez had not gained 15 pounds, Alvarez had gained weight, enough that the Pirates "had concerns."
By all appearances, if Alvarez has gained weight, it appears to be muscle. If he gained a bunch of flab this offseason, he's gotten rid of it. So we should probably put this issue to bed. He looks great.
If there's any concern here, it's that he has 19 strikeouts and one walk so far in Spring Training. (He put in some extra time with Clint Hurdle yesterday.) But Alvarez has a history of starting slowly, so hopefully he's just getting that out of his system now.