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Pirates notebook: Josh Harrison says no grudge toward Starling Marte

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 8:45 p.m.

Remarks from Josh Harrison, John Jaso and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicate Starling Marte will be welcomed back into the clubhouse Tuesday when his 80-game suspension for steroid use ends.

“I don't hold grudges,” Harrison said. “Nobody's perfect.”

Marte's presence in left field Tuesday in the second of a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers won't cost Harrison his starting job.

But Jaso's playing time will be significantly affected. He has played 11 games in left field, with the Pirates winning six of them.

Jaso doesn't believe an official welcome will be necessary, considering Marte has inhabited the Pirates clubhouse for the past five seasons.

“That's in the past, and you just keep going forward,” Jaso said of the suspension. “He's definitely a part of this team, always has been. He's played with these guys for years and years.”

Hurdle said it will be a “smooth transition.” He was encouraged by the opportunity to see Marte's replacements — seven players have played left field — in a variety of situations.

“It has given us more volume of observations,” Hurdle said, “whether it's playing the game when they're playing well, whether it's playing the game when it's hard, their two-strike approach.

“You get to see more things, maybe the left-on-left, right-on-right, you might not have had much of a chance to (see).”

Marte's return, Hurdle said, “strengthens the bench, strengthens the lineup, strengthens the team.”

Little contact

Harrison said there has been limited connections between Marte and his teammates during the suspension.

“He might have sent a few messages here and there,” Harrison said. “(We said), ‘You have a family to take care of. You be there for them. When you come back, we got you.' ”

Taking one for the team

Jaso said he will accept whatever role Marte's returns gives him.

“He is that everyday guy, obviously,” he said. “He's got all the tools.

“But I'm always here, ready for whatever. It doesn't really matter to me what I do. As long as I have a uniform on my back, I'm a happy guy. We'll just see what Clint wants to do.”

His office is open

Hurdle said the strong lines of communication he tries to maintain with his players can help if someone is distressed by the approach of the July 31 trading deadline.

“Most of these guys have some stature within the game and understand this time of year can be exciting. It can be challenging. It can get twisted,” he said. “With the communication you set forth throughout the year, it can put you in a position where it doesn't get twisted.

“Nothing will get them caught off guard.”

Going to the movies

Harrison's batting average fell to .273 before Monday's game from a high of .329 on April 28 and .311 on June 12, but he believes video study of his batter's box tendencies has helped.

“Video is a good way to look at what you may have not been doing or what may be causing certain things,” said Harrison, who has been chasing pitches outside the strike zone. “I was able to find something that was putting my body in a funky spot, which is baseball.”

He said it involved timing but offered no details.

“Something I know that's near and dear to me. I don't really want to say too much what it is. But I know what it is, something I know from here on out to stay on.

“I definitely felt better (Monday, in the cage). Storm don't last always.”

Harrison batted leadoff Monday night.

Minor matters

Triple-A Indianapolis first baseman Joey Terdoslavich was named International League player of the week. Over four games, he batted .500 (8 for 16) with two home runs, two doubles, eight RBIs and five runs scored. … Over 24 games since June 17, Double-A Altoona shortstop Kevin Newman is batting .317 (33 for 104) with seven doubles, a triple, two homers and 11 RBIs. His average in that span was tied for fifth-best in the Pirates system.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib. Rob Biertempfel contributed to this story.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte listens to a question during a news conference Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison knocks down a ball hit by the Brewers' Travis Shaw during the second inning Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco celebrates his RBI double during the sixth inning against the Brewers Monday, July 17, 2017, at PNC Park.
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