PITTSBURGH -- Pedro Alvarez Sr. will drive back to New York City following the Pirates' game on Sunday with memories of his son's Major League debut and a pretty special Father's Day gift in tow.
Before going to bed early Sunday morning, Pedro Alvarez presented his dad with the ball from his first Major League hit. Alvarez recorded that knock -- a ground-rule double -- in the fifth inning of Saturday's game, and he secured the ball by exchanging an autographed bat and ball with the fan who retrieved it.
"Obviously, he was very excited and thrilled," Alvarez said on Sunday. "He was pretty pumped up."
Alvarez Sr. and other friends and family members have been in Pittsburgh since Alvarez joined the club on Wednesday.
Milledge heating up this month
PITTSBURGH -- Manager John Russell has been liberal in giving outfielder Ryan Church fairly regular playing time this season. That might soon change, however, if Lastings Milledge continues his recent tear.
With his three-hit, four-RBI performance on Saturday, Milledge has now hit .381 this month. He's produced multi-hit performances in each of his last three starts and has seen his season batting average climb to .276 as a result.
So after a quiet start to the season, what has been behind Milledge's June success?
"Nothing has really changed," he said. "This is just the time where I always swing good. I don't know what it is, but this time of year is when I start coming out of my shell."
This roll, too, comes just as Milledge has had his playing time cut. He lost his job in left when Jose Tabata arrived and has since been splitting time in right, primarily with Church. Milledge had been drawing the assignment against left-handed starters, while Church has been getting the starts against right-handers.
That platoon pattern, however, was shaken up on Sunday when Russell started Milledge against right-hander Justin Masterson. It's certainly a sign that Milledge will dictate his playing time with his production.
The one thing that has stayed steady all year has been Milledge's success with runners in scoring position. He went 2-for-3 in that department on Saturday and is now batting .408 in those situations. That certainly left an impression with Indians manager Manny Acta on Saturday, though Acta was already plenty familiar with Milledge well before the outfielder's big game.
"Lastings has a chance to be a very solid left fielder in the big leagues and contrary to everything you have heard or read about him, he's a great kid with great parents," said Acta, who managed Milledge for parts of two seasons with the Nationals. "I had a chance to know him when I was in New York and I had a chance to have him when I was in DC, and I believe in him. I can tell people from my own experience that he's far from whatever people have read and said about the kid. He's a good kid and he has a chance to be a good left fielder in the big leagues."
Struggling Cedeno benched on Sunday
PITTSBURGH -- Ronny Cedeno remained out of the lineup on Sunday as coaches and manager John Russell continued to preach the importance of consistency and tempered emotions to the starting shortstop.
Cedeno has allowed his emotions to hurt him in the past, and that has been the case again recently. The Pirates haven't been pleased with how he handled personal struggles and the frustrations of the team's recent 12-game losing streak. They have also been concerned about how Cedeno's negative reactions might affect some of the club's younger players.
As a result, the starting shortstop has been benched in four of the last five games.
"They think I just need a few days off," Cedeno said. "It's part of baseball."
Though Bobby Crosby has earned the playing time lost by Cedeno, Russell reiterated that Cedeno will continue to be the starting shortstop after this cooling-off period.
Since reaching base safely in 19 straight games through May 29, Cedeno has just six hits in his last 49 at-bats.
"We just want him to try to realize how consistent he can be on the field," Russell said. "He's a very emotional player, which is good, but sometimes it's distracting to him because he wants to do so well. It's just trying to find a balance with him. We need Ronny. He's the kind of guy I think we need to work with to get him to relax so his talent can really show."
Morton's return remains up in the air
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have not made a decision about whether right-hander Charlie Morton will make another rehab start or whether he is ready to come off the disabled list this week. If it's the latter, the organization would also have to determine if it wants to bring Morton back up to the Majors immediately, or leave him pitching in Triple-A.
General manager Neal Huntington said conversations with manager John Russell and farm director Kyle Stark will help him determine what move would be best for both Morton and the big league club.
Morton made his third Triple-A rehab start on Saturday, and Huntington called it the right-hander's best to this point. Morton finished five innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out five as his velocity topped out at 96 mph.
"The four-seamer was explosive in the zone," Huntington said. "The two-seamer had a ton of life. The breaking balls were OK. The changeup was very good."
PITTSBURGH -- General manager Neal Huntington continues to actively try and trade second baseman Aki Iwamura, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday. When asked how those attempts have gone, Huntington said, "There are a handful of clubs that have expressed some level of interest. They are working through their own scenarios. There are other clubs that have just passed at this point. We're looking to put some closure to it one way or another this week." ... While nothing appears imminent, Huntington said that the club still might send backup catcher Jason Jaramillo to Triple-A to get regular at-bats. That's something the organization had strongly considered at the beginning of the season. ... Players wore blue wrist bands and blue ribbons on their uniforms as Major League Baseball used Father's Day to recognize the fight against prostate cancer. The Pirates' lineup card was also printed on blue paper. ... Saturday's game was the fourth home contest the Pirates have played in front of a crowd of at least 30,000 this season. The club has won all four of those games. ... Steve Pearce went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in his first Minor League rehab game with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.