BRADENTON, Fla. -- On a day the Pirates pitched another vitamin-enriched game -- as far as runs go, they are allowing one a day -- they broke even both on the scoreboard and in manpower.
Third baseman Josh Harrison returned from a four-day layoff with a twisted left ankle to play the first five innings of the Bucs' 1-1 tie with the Twins in McKechnie Field. Heading the other way in the revolving door was Pedro Alvarez, who has not played since Friday and will need a few more days to get over a mild hyperextension of his right elbow.
Naturally, the ball didn't take long to find Harrison. Minnesota leadoff batter Danny Santana drilled a ball to his right to lead off the third, and Harrison dove to smother the ball with a backhand and threw to first for the out.
Watching from center field, Andrew McCutchen thought the play deserved a cap-tipping ovation. The best part of the fielding gem, however, was that it required Harrison to push off his left foot, which he did without issues.
"I just saw the ball and went to get it," Harrison said. "At that point, it was just reacting, not thinking about it. But yes, I felt fine, no problems."
"That's what Josh said was good about it -- the first ball hit to him, he didn't have to think about," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He gloved the ball. He ran down the line [on a fifth-inning groundout] ... so I think we're in a good place with him. I didn't see any missteps from him or signs that he was favoring anything."
Alvarez's injury appears neither serious nor long term. In fact, he continues to participate in regular workouts to the extent he feels comfortable.