The Windup, 4/21: Pedro hitting, pitchers missing

Pedro Alvarez will never be Tony Gwynn in the batter’s box, but pitchers who still try to blow a fastball by him will have to be careful. Last season — admittedly not the most positive reference point — Alvarez missed 19.8 percent of the fastballs at which he swung. In the early going this season, that percentage is down to 3.6. …

The Bucs surrendered a season-high 14 hits in Monday night’s series opener with the Cubs, not to manager Clint Hurdle’s surprise.

“We probably missed more (pitch) locations in that one game than we had in a whole series before. And we paid for it,” Hurdle said. …

The (work-in-progress) results are in — and Starling Marte owns the fourth-longest homer hit this season in the Majors. Marte’s 460-foot blow Friday night off Brewers reliever Jonathan Broxton was 51 inches shy of the leader in the clubhouse — the 477-foot shot jacked the same night by Alex Rodriguez in Tropicana Field off … wait for it … Ernesto Frieri. …

With Joe Maddon in town, it was timely to ask Hurdle whether he’d ever consider batting his pitcher eighth. The skipper admitted to having theories of why and when it makes sense — but basically hasn’t bought into them enough to actually do it. …

Maddon routinely lists his pitcher No. 8, even when he isn’t a hitter the calibre of Tuesday’s starter. Travis Wood even had two pinch-hit homers this Spring Training. Addison Russell thus is making his Major League debut as the ninth-place hitter — the first position player to bat ninth in his first big league game since right fielder Mark Little with the 1998 Cardinals, managed by the equally eccentric Tony La Russa. …

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