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Pirates promote outfield prospect Marte

| Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 7:42 p.m.
Starling Marte with Triple-A Indianapolis in June 2012.
MLB Photos via Getty Images
BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 26: of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses during Photo Day on Sunday, February 26, 2012 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Outfielder Starling Marte, the top position player prospect in the Pirates' farm system, is on his way to the big leagues.

Marte was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and will join the Pirates on Thursday in Houston for the start of a four-game series against the Astros. He likely will bat leadoff and start in either left or right field in his major league debut.

Recently, manager Clint Hurdle said he won't have any qualms about putting Marte in the lineup in the midst of a pennant chase.

“Some young players might grab the mindset of, ‘There's a lot going on here, and I don't want to mess up,' ” Hurdle said. “My expectations are for Marte to fear nothing, respect everything, prepare and focus. Go play like you're 6 years old and you're in the backyard.”

The Pirates released a statement Wednesday night that they intend to promote Marte to the majors. The move will not be official until Thursday, and the Pirates will have to make a corresponding roster move at the major league level. Marte already is on the 40-man roster.

Also Wednesday night, the Pirates optioned reliever Evan Meek to Indianapolis. It's not clear whether that move is intended to open a spot on the active roster for Marte or for left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who was acquired in a trade late Tuesday night and will join the club Thursday in Houston.

Marte, 23, batted .286 with 12 homers and 61 RBI in 98 games this season with Indy.

Marte was signed in January 2007 by director of Latin American scouting Rene Gayo. Marte is the first “graduate” of the Pirates' Latin American academy to El Toro, Dominican Republic, to reach the majors.

“There are extra things that go into developing a player (from Latin America), so there's a sense of pride there,” assistant general manager Kyle Stark said. “And, starting with (owner) Bob Nutting, this organization has committed significantly to Latin America. It's a credit to Rene Gayo and our scouts in Latin America and (coaches) all the way up through our system.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or 412-320-7811.

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