-P- The Pirates announced that Pedro Alvarez has been diagnosed with a stress reaction in the fourth metatarsal in his left foot. Typical recovery time for this type of injury is four to six weeks.
This likely signals the end to Alvarez's 2014 season.
Obviously, it has been a very disappointing year for the corner infielder. He opened the season as the Pirates cleanup hitter and everyday third baseman. After struggling for much of April and May, Alvarez was moved out of the fourth slot for good on May 22. At that point he was batting .212/.306/.365. On August 18, Alvarez lost his fielding role after committing 24 throwing errors.
-P- As mentioned in yesterday's postgame, Edinson Volquez was visibly frustrated with being removed from the game after throwing only 92 pitches. The normally affable and talkative pitcher was short with the press after the game, and he made a point of emphasizing that he was "more than ready" to continue pitching.
This afternoon Clint Hurdle said making difficult decisions that might tick off players is "one of the more interesting parts of the game.
"They have a lens in which they view of the game. It's an individual with a team concept," Hurdle said. "My lens is a team concept with a focus on individuals ... At the end of the day, I remind [players], ‘Is your decision or desire based on yourself or the team?'"
Hurdle also explained the tactical reasons why he felt it was the right time to remove Volquez.
"Edinson had more gas in the tank," Hurdle said. "He could have pitched longer, he could have pitched all night, but that's not going to score us another run. We score a run in the seventh we might not see [Ken] Giles, we won't see [Jonathan] Papelbon ... If we have a lead last night Edinson goes out in the seventh. I do believe there are nights he is just as good as anyone I've got out there to pitch the seventh."
Finally, Hurdle stressed that Volquez's reaction is not that big of deal, and it is something he expects in the middle of a pennant race.
"The competitive nature of that he has, that's what you want," Hurdle said. "I didn't lose any sleep, [and] I don't think he did."
-P- As Vance Worley prepares to take on the Phililes, I took some time and looked at some of the Pirates' recent success with starting pitchers who could be defined as reclamation projects.
Collectively, A.J. Burnett, Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano and Vance Worley posted a 5.55 ERA and 1.48 GB/FB ratio the season before joining the Pirates.
In their first season with the Pirates, the group lowered its ERA by more than two runs, 3.28, and induced many more ground balls, 1.86 GB/FB.