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Alvarez back at PNC Park for first time as Oriole

Special to MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez was back at PNC Park on Tuesday, in the visitor's dugout for the first time since departing the Pirates after the 2015 season.

"Different vantage point, different dugout," he said.

Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez was back at PNC Park on Tuesday, in the visitor's dugout for the first time since departing the Pirates after the 2015 season.

"Different vantage point, different dugout," he said.

Full Game Coverage

After a somewhat checkered career with the Pirates, Alvarez signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles before the 2016 season and was mainly a designated hitter. He signed a Minor League deal before this season, making the transition to right field.

A September callup, the 30-year-old former National League All-Star was not in Tuesday's lineup.

"It feels good," he said, about returning. "Obviously this is a place where I came every day. I started my career here. It's good to see all these guys. ... Had some good moments. For the most part, that's what you remember."

Alvarez was part of the Pirates' resurgence after 20 straight losing seasons that culminated with a NL Wild Card Game victory over Cincinnati in 2013. That season, Alvarez hit 36 home runs and drove in 100 runs. He also hit .233 and struck out 186 times, the most in the Majors.

Alvarez never found consistency with the Pirates. He had wondrous streaks and horrible slumps. He hit 111 home runs from 2012-15, but his combined OPS was only .767.

The No. 2 pick in the 2008 Draft, Alvarez and his agent Scott Boras held out for two months before signing a contract. That set a negative tone from the outset and raised expectations even higher.

Asked about that, Alvarez said, "No one can put more expectations on myself than myself. I know for a fact I always tried to do the best as I can. As far as pressure, all that stuff is external. I try to worry about what I can control and the attitude and the effort I can put forth to improve my game."

Alvarez posted a career-best .826 OPS with the Orioles in 2016, mainly as a designated hitter. He spent most of the '17 season learning to play right field with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk and was named to the postseason International League All-Star team.

"I've been really impressed with him down in Norfolk," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "The teammate he was, the professional he was, the effort he put in. I was surprised that somebody along the way didn't take him. We just didn't have a spot for him, but I think it bodes well for his future."

Health news

Shortstop Tim Beckham missed his second straight game Tuesday after injuring his right hamstring Saturday. Showalter said Beckham was "better" Tuesday and was "hoping" he could play before the end of the season.

"I really do want to get out there, man," said Beckham said. "It just sucks any time you can't play."

Adam Jones also was scratched from Tuesday's lineup. The center fielder has been dealing with leg soreness the last few weeks.

Bob Cohn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh who covered the Orioles on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Pedro Alvarez