MLB Insiders - Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates placed first-round draft pick Pedro Alvarez, a left-handed hitting third baseman from Vanderbilt, on the restricted list Wednesday after his agent, Scott Boras, informed the club that he wants to renegotiate the contract the sides agreed to on Aug. 15 because he believes it is invalid.

The Pirates and Alvarez reportedly settled on a $6 million signing bonus just before midnight on Aug. 15, the deadline for drafted players to sign contracts. However, Boras now claims the deal was not agreed upon until after midnight and the contract should be voided.

"The Pirates are confident that the contract reached with Pedro Alvarez was agreed to and submitted to Major League Baseball in a timely fashion and properly accepted by Major League Baseball," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said.

Boras could not be reached for comment.

"Regrettably, we are not surprised that Mr. Boras would attempt to raise a meritless legal claim in an effort to compel us to renegotiate Pedro's contract to one more to his liking," Coonelly said. "We are, however, disappointed that Pedro would allow his agent to pursue this claim on his behalf. Pedro showed tremendous fortitude and independent thinking when he agreed to his contract on Aug. 15."

Coonelly understands the draft rules better than anyone, as he was Major League Baseball's chief labor counsel before coming to the Pirates last September. He is certain the Pirates have a legal deal in place with Alvarez.

"The office of the commissioner has assured us that it will vigorously defend any claim to the contrary," Coonelly said.

Coonelly said the Pirates still want to bring Alvarez, considered the top prospect in this year's draft by most publications, into the organization despite the latest maneuvering by Alvarez and Boras.

"Despite our disappointment, we continue to believe in Pedro Alvarez the person and the baseball player and remain excited to add Pedro to our system," Coonelly said. "We will sit down with Pedro and his family as soon as Mr. Boras' claim is rejected to chart a new and much more productive start to Pedro's career with the Pittsburgh Pirates."

CUBS 2, PIRATES 0: After giving up 26 runs in the first two games, the Pirates were shut out on five hits by Jason Marquis and two relievers as National League Central-leading Chicago swept the three-game series. The Cubs won the season series 14-4.

Zach Duke (4-13) pitched well in defeat but suffered his ninth consecutive loss. He gave up two runs and seven hits in eight innings.

--RHP Jesse Chavez's contract was purchased from Class AAA Indianapolis on Wednesday and he pitched one scoreless innings in his major league debut. Chavez, 25, was 2-6 with a 3.80 ERA in 51 relief appearances for Indianapolis.

--RHP Craig Hansen was optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis a day after he walked in the tying and winning runs in a 14-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Hansen, 24, was 0-2 with one save and an 8.10 ERA in nine relief appearances while walking 12 in 10 innings since being acquired from Boston in a trade July 31.

--LHP Phil Dumatrait was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to open a spot on the 40-man roster for RHP Jesse Chavez. Dumatrait had season-ending surgery on Aug. 9 after going 3-4 with a 5.26 ERA in 21 games, 11 starts, in his rookie season.

--OF Nyjer Morgan started in right field, the seventh time he has started in eight games since being recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis on Aug. 19. Morgan went 1-for-4 and is 12-for-30 (.400) since returning to the majors.

--CF Nate McLouth played another flawless game in the field and has now gone 121 games this season without committing an error in his first season as a regular.

BY THE NUMBERS: 28 -- Wins by the bullpen, the most in the major leagues entering the week.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel like a new man, both physically and mentally." -- Pirates closer Matt Capps, after returning from a six-week stint on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis and losing 15 pounds in the process.


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