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8/19/2014 7:29 P.M. ET

Alvarez unlikely to see any more action at third

PITTSBURGH -- The night after Pedro Alvarez's debut at first base, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicated it would take an emergency for the slugger to again be seen playing third base this season.

Emergencies do happen. There was one only last weekend, when shortstop Jordy Mercer's forearm injury pressed Alvarez into third-base service in Washington.

"Right now, I think we have a better option in Josh Harrison," Hurdle said. "This season, right now -- to put the best team that I can on the field every night, we have better options. We have to find [Alvarez] some at-bats. Is third base the optimum place to get them? No, it is not."

After four consecutive starts at shortstop, Harrison was back at third base Tuesday, with Mercer's return.

However, Alvarez was not back at first. After an 0-for-4 output on Monday night, Alvarez was on the bench in favor of Ike Davis, another left-handed hitter.

"Everybody is going to have to get some at-bats," said Hurdle, who included right-handed-hitting first baseman Gaby Sanchez in that sentiment. "There's a certain method I have in mind. We're not going to quit on anybody. Pedro has shown us a bat that can get white-hot. It hasn't this year."

Cutch: Plunking may have contributed to injury

PITTSBURGH -- Upon his return to the active list on Tuesday, Andrew McCutchen acknowledged the likelihood that getting drilled in the back by Randall Delgado's pitch contributed to the avulsion rib fracture that sent him to the DL for the first time in his career.

Arizona's Delgado struck McCutchen on the spine on Aug. 2 in perceived retaliation for an Ernesto Frieri pitch that fractured D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's hand. In the eighth inning the next day, McCutchen pulled up in pain after hitting a sacrifice fly.

"I've taken that swing a million times," McCutchen said Tuesday. "[It's] not like I over swung -- a simple swing, sac fly -- and next thing you know, that happened.

"I'm not saying [getting hit by the pitch] was the main reason, but maybe it had something to do with it. The body is pretty amazing -- get hurt, it compensates for it."

McCutchen had been asked to comment on the fact that, even though Delgado was immediately ejected by home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa, no suspensions resulted from the incident.

"I can't control what they do, the decisions they make," McCutchen said. "I just hope they were able to see what took place there. It just means there will be more times when that happens. And a chance someone else can get hurt, get the same injury I got, because there was nothing handled.

"It wouldn't surprise me if, God forbid, something like that happens again. It's upsetting [the lack of suspensions], but it's their choice. I'm just the one who happened to get hurt."

Worth noting

• With 17 home dates remaining, the Pirates' attendance is 113,000 ahead of the pace of last season, when the Bucs wound up with a total gate of 2,256,862 -- the second largest in franchise history.

• Through Monday, the Bucs were second in the National League with 90 errors (Arizona was tops with 91 miscues) that have resulted in 55 unearned runs -- already 11 more than they had all last season.

"They're definitely not playing the type of defense they're capable of. We're gifting too many runs," Hurdle said.

First number, last word

1.154: Starling Marte's OPS during his two weeks as the Pirates' substitute center fielder, while McCutchen recovered from a rib injury.

"I knew last night he was going to come back, so I was charged up last night. The whole ride home, I was honking the horn, waving at everyone, 'He's back!'"
-- Hurdle, mustering some sarcasm to illustrate the point that, while he is pleased to get back McCutchen, baseball is not on his mind 24/7.

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.