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Pirates notebook: Injured hand puts Marte on disabled list

| Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielders Travis Snider (left) and Andrew Lambo talk in the dugout during a game against the Diamondbacks on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, at PNC Park.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pirates placed left fielder Starling Marte (right hand) on the 15-day disabled list Saturday and recalled outfielder Andrew Lambo from Triple-A.

Marte has not played since Aug. 18 against Arizona when he injured his hand sliding on a steal attempt. The initial diagnosis was a right hand contusion, but further tests also revealed a strain of the ligament that connects the ring finger to the hand.

Marte is not a candidate for surgery.

Manager Clint Hurdle declined to offer a timetable on when Marte might return. Marte is eligible to come off the DL on Sept. 3.

“I'm not going to speculate,” Hurdle said. “We'll have more information when we get home and he's seen by our doctors.”

Marte tested the hand in San Francisco and San Diego, but he continues to experience pain when throwing and gripping a bat.

“There were no complications working his way back,” Hurdle said. “It's all part of the original injury.”

Lambo returns

Lambo was in the starting lineup versus Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum on Saturday, playing right field and batting seventh. Lambo was with the team briefly earlier in August before being sent back down to Indianapolis.

Lambo brings power to the lineup; he has 32 home runs in the minor leagues this season. Hurdle said it's conceivable Lambo could play some against left-handed pitching as his minor league splits are nearly even this season.

Hurdle said it's an opportunity for Lambo, who could have a lengthier stay with the club this time.

“To be involved in a pennant race in August, there are challenges that come with it but there are opportunities that come with it,” Hurdle said. “It's a very good environment. … There were a number of guys that came up at various points (with Hurdle in Colorado) and helped their cause the next year, their first full season.”

Lambo said his breakout season is tied to a change in approach.

“One of the things this offseason was I talked to a lot of people, and I looked at every successful big league hitter,” Lambo said. “They all use the whole field. I've done a good job of mixing it up. You hit to what is going on. If they are not really giving you anything, your sight is set on out and over and you look away.”

Cole pushed back

In an effort to reduce Gerrit Cole's workload, the Pirates will give the rookie extra rest for the second time this month. Cole, originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday, has had his start bumped back to Thursday at home versus Milwaukee.

“It pushes him back the same amount of time last time we pushed him back,” said Hurdle of the seven days between starts.

Jeff Locke will start Tuesday vs. Milwaukee and will be followed by Charlie Morton on Wednesday. Francisco Liriano will start the series opener against St. Louis on Friday, with A.J. Burnett pitching Saturday.

Cole has thrown 146 combined innings between Triple-A and the majors this season. He threw 150 combined innings last season. Clubs are often hesitant to dramatically increase a young pitcher's workload from year to year. Hurdle said the plan is to have Cole available to the club in October should the Pirates advance to the playoffs.

One negative effect could be a change in routine for Cole, who said he struggled to maintain a feel for his slider during his previous extra rest.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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