Alvarez incorporated the toe tap over the offseason, but after struggling at the plate this spring (7-for-42, .167 avg with 20 strikeouts), Alvarez has decided to eliminate the tap and keep things more simple at the plate. Alvarez will take a bunch of at-bats today at Pirate City during minor league games, bouncing from field to field, and will return to the lineup tomorrow.
Alvarez remains a key part of the Pirates' future, but he was awful in 2011 and has looked even worse this spring, striking out in nearly half his at-bats. The Bucs have already said he will make the team out of Spring Training, but he doesn't currently look like he has much of a chance of having success at the big-league level. The fact that it's a week before Opening Day and the Pirates are messing around with his swing doesn't bode well, either, since it seems like they're just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. That doesn't mean they're wrong to do so, of course -- simplifying things might be the way to go.