Alvarez continues to pound the strike zone

JUPITER, Fla. -- Henderson Alvarez continues to pound the strike zone. But on Friday, being around the plate resulted in him getting hit a bit.

Alvarez gave up three runs on six hits against the Twins in an 8-7 loss at Roger Dean Stadium.

The right-hander has made two Grapefruit League starts. In both of them, he threw plenty of strikes. On Friday, 27 of his 39 pitches were strikes. It followed up tossing 19 of 22 pitches for strikes against the Nationals his last time out.

"I felt fine," Alvarez said. "All of my pitches are where I want, and I feel like I'm ready for the World Baseball Classic."

On Sunday, Alvarez will be joining Team Venezuela in preparation for the Classic.

Former Marlin Anibal Sanchez is scheduled to be Venezuela's ace, while Alvarez could be the No. 2 starter, although he has not yet been told.

Alvarez likes Venezuela's chances.

"I feel like Venezuela is the best team and should be the team to beat," he said. "It's going to be a great honor for me. It's the first time I've represented my country in baseball and its going to bring me a lot of joy to do that and play alongside some of my countrymen and stars of the game."