Pittsburgh — This week's series marks Orioles designated hitter Pedro Álvarez's first return to the place where he began his career and played his first six seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Different vantage point, a different dugout now," Álvarez said before Tuesday night's game at PNC Park. "I had a lot of good moments with these guys here. A lot of these guys are still here. …You know, for the most part that's what you remember. When you leave a team, you remember the good memories you had with your teammates."
Álvarez hit 26 homers in 138 games at Triple-A Norfolk, a power total that is understated by playing half his games at the Tides' cavernous Harbor Park, but didn't receive a call-up this season until Sept. 1, when rosters expanded.
He's played sparingly since joining the major league club, but started two of three games in the final home series against Tampa Bay over the weekend. On Sept. 18, he reached base five times with a home run, two singles and two walks against the Boston Red Sox.
Álvarez played mostly at DH, so since the Orioles will be without one playing in a National League park, he's likely to get at-bats here only as a pinch hitter. He didn't play Tuesday.
Álvarez said the experiment of transitioning to the outfield — he made 41 starts in right field for Norfolk but none after June 4, when he moved full time to first base and DH — was "really overwhelming" at first.
"I thought I was getting the hang of it pretty well," Álvarez said. "The stadium in Norfolk is kind of a hard stadium to play the outfield because the wind shifts and whatnot. There was never a day with no wind. I think it helped me. I kind of had to bear down and learn the position a little quicker. I feel like I can defend myself out there."