Pirates notebook: Oft-plunked Marte back in lineup
ST. LOUIS — Left fielder Starling Marte was back in the starting lineup Tuesday for the series opener against the Cardinals after leaving Saturday's game with a left-hand injury.
Marte was hit by a pitch from Colorado's Josh Outman in the seventh inning Saturday and did not start Sunday's game but appeared as a pinch runner. A second test on Marte's hand Sunday confirmed there was no break, and the Pirates' day off Monday gave him more time to rest.
Marte then was hit again Tuesday night. It was the 19th time he has been hit by a pitch this season — second in the National League only to Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo, who has been hit 23 times.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it's something they'll have to address during the offseason.
“This isn't a new situation,” Hurdle said “He's led the league in hit by pitches in every single league he's ever played in, pretty much. It's unfortunate, but he's a piñata. We've got to help him maybe over the winter find a way to evade pitches in a somewhat different manner because he's not getting out of the way. That's obvious. We all got that.”
Presley optioned to Triple-A
To make room for Andrew Lambo on the 25-man active roster, the Pirates optioned outfielder Alex Presley to Triple-A on Tuesday. Presley has had four stints with the big club this season, and Hurdle said he had a private conversation with the outfielder about his return to the minors.
“(He was) very professional,” Hurdle said “Disappointed, as well. I told him this isn't just all about player ‘A' and player ‘B.' It's about the dynamic of the team, that we're trying to find a way to improve our overall team — whether it be bench or the platoon system in right field — and we do need to take a look at the guy that we've called up, based on what he's done.”
Snider getting close to rehab assignment; Grilli throws again
Outfielder Travis Snider took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list July 28 and receiving a platelet-rich plasma shot. He also was running and chasing fly balls in the outfield.
“It's been positive the last week, really,” Snider said. “(Platelet-rich plasma) shots are pretty sore for about five to seven days, which is pretty normal, especially in a small area like the big-toe joint. There's not a lot of room for that fluid. Once that wore off, we were able to progress in a smart manner.”
Hurdle said they've targeted the next road trip, beginning Aug. 19, to start Snider on a rehab assignment.
The manager also said closer Jason Grilli played catch again Tuesday and was “good,” and that they have a plan to start increasing his activity but aren't willing to make it public just yet. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday.
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