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03/05/2013 10:54 PM ET

Alvarado to start Puerto Rico's opener vs. Spain

FORT MYERS, Fla -- Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez named well-traveled right-hander Giancarlo Alvarado, who pitched last season for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan's Central League, as his starting pitcher for the World Baseball Classic opener Friday against Spain in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

"We've scouted Spain and we think he matches up very well against them," Rodriguez said Tuesday as Puerto Rico tuned up for the Classic with a 4-3 exhibition loss to the Boston Red Sox. "He is very good with his secondary pitches."

Even though he is scheduled to start on Friday, the 6-foot-4, 211-pound Alvarado will pitch the first inning Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins in Puerto Rico's final exhibition.

"He's the kind of pitcher who, the more he pitches, the better he is," Rodriguez said.

Alvarado, 35, originally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1995. He also pitched in the Minor Leagues for the Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers as well as in the Independent and Mexican Leagues. He has never pitched in the Majors.

Tuesday night's starter, Nelson Figueroa, limited the Red Sox to a run on two hits over the first three innings.

"He did what we expected," Rodriguez said. "He is one of our best pitchers."

Figueroa, who is a non-roster invitee at camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks, will start for Puerto Rico in the Classic against the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Beltran back in action, starts in right field for P.R.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals star Carlos Beltran, who has been nursing a bruised right toe, was back in the lineup, starting in right field Tuesday night for Team Puerto Rico.

"I asked him if he wanted to DH but he said he wanted to play right field," said Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez. "He's been running the bases, he's been doing everything. He's ready to go."

That's good news for Puerto Rico, which only has four outfielders on its roster now that Andres Torres pulled out because of an injury.

Beltran played the first six innings of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Red Sox, going 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

"He looked 100 percent," Rodriguez said after the game. "He felt a little bit sore but he's fine."

Beltran, 35, batted .269 with 32 home runs and 97 RBIs in 151 games for the Cardinals last year. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.