Pirates and Pedro Alvarez open to contract extension

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The Pirates have yet to approach third baseman Pedro Alvarez about a contract extension, but there appears to be mutual interest in a possible deal.

Alvarez’s agent, Scott Boras, told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Post-Tribune that he is “open to the idea” of an extension. Meanwhile, Pirates president Frank Coonelly is on the same page.

“Open minds often lead to common ground and, ultimately, to agreement,” Coonelly said. “We also have an open mind on these issues and will continue to evaluate seriously the merits of a long-term agreement with Pedro, just like we do with all of our young players.”

Alvarez’s original contract with the Pirates includes a $700,000 team option for 2014, but he can void it if he qualifies for salary arbitration. The Pirates fully expect that to happen, so there figures to be some negotiating this winter no matter what. Even if the option is voided, Alvarez remains under team control through 2016. The Pirates would almost certainly want to buy out a free agent year or two as part of an extension, which could be a challenge with Boras involved.

Alvarez has struck out in 31.1 percent of the time in the majors and owns a lowly .232 batting average, but he brings legitimate pop from the third base position. The 26-year-old launched 30 home runs last season and has 10 in 47 games so far this year.

Zack Wheeler headed to IL due to shoulder fatigue

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Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will be placed on the 10-day injured list due to fatigue in his right shoulder, Newsday’s Tim Healey reports. The roster move is retroactive to July 12. Steven Matz will open up a two-game series in Minnesota, starting in Wheeler’s place on Tuesday.

As Healey notes, the soonest Wheeler can return is July 23, which would give him at most two starts ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Wheeler has frequently been brought up in trade conversations as he can become a free agent after the season and the 42-51 Mets have been freefalling.

Wheeler, 29, owns a 4.69 ERA with 130 strikeouts and 34 walks across 119 innings of work this season.