Bucs concerned with Alvarez's recovery from injury

Infielder's status uncertain for upcoming series in Philadelphia

Bucs concerned with Alvarez's recovery from injury

CHICAGO -- The sprained left foot sustained nearly two weeks ago by Pedro Alvarez is not healing as quickly as the Pirates had originally hoped, and it's possible the infielder will return to Pittsburgh for tests rather than accompany the team to Philadelphia.

Alvarez appeared as a pinch-hitter Friday, his first game action since sustaining the injury on Aug. 26 while playing first base and diving for a drive down the line.

"He's not progressing the way he was before the pinch-hit at-bat," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "My expectation is that he will go to Philadelphia, but we're still working through what the plan is for him.

"We've talked about a variety of options to get the most accurate diagnosis. He's still feeling it, and has had some regression in terms of pain. He's feeling more pain than would allow us to progress with him."

Following an extremely long dry spell, Alvarez had begun to heat up just prior to the injury. The erstwhile third baseman was settling in at first base, and he had an outburst of three homers in 10 at-bats after not having gone deep since before the All-Star break.

• Manager Clint Hurdle sat on two versions of his Sunday lineup -- one with and the other without Josh Harrison -- until the third baseman had a chance to test his sore left ankle in pre-game workouts. The manager had to go with the lineup listing Brent Morel at third.

However, Harrison, who tweaked the tender ankle making a running catch Saturday in the 11th inning of the suspended game, was walking around without a noticeable limp, and he was believed to be available to hit off the bench.

First number, last word

9-8: Pirates' record last season in the three road stops remaining on their 2014 schedule. They will visit Philadelphia (3-1), Atlanta (0-3) and Cincinnati (6-4).

"He is as good as any catcher I've been around in his ability to help the guy on the mound, as far as empowering him to think, 'It's gonna be the best night I've ever had.'" -- Hurdle, on catcher Russell Martin.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.