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Pirates notebook: Marte's return uncertain

| Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:27 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton greets Starling Marte at the dugout after he scored during the second inning against the Giants Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at PNC Park.

MILWAUKEE — Starling Marte went through some light on-field activities prior to Tuesday's game, but the Pirates left fielder was out of the lineup for a second straight game since injuring his back Saturday.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle all but ruled Marte out as being available off the bench and did not speculate on when he might return to the lineup.

“We're still going through the process of evaluating him,” Hurdle said. “Did you ever see the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber?' Do you remember the point where he asks the girl what his chances are and she says ‘One in a million.' And he goes ‘So you're saying I gotta chance?' I'm telling you Marte has a chance.”

On Sunday, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington did not rule out the disabled list for Marte but also indicated the team felt like Marte could avoid being sidelined that long. Jose Tabata started in left field with Josh Harrison batting leadoff and playing in right field over Travis Snider.

Marte is batting .255 with two home runs and 11 steals this season. He also is sporting a career-high 28.1 strikeout rate.

Grilli set for simulated game

Pirates closer Jason Grilli will throw a simulated game Wednesday at Miller Park. Grilli said he felt good after a 25-pitch bullpen session last week, his first mound work since going on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Hurdle did not offer any plans on Grilli's timetable beyond the scheduled sim game.

“We're going to make sure that goes well before we plan out a next step,” Hurdle said. “He's going to throw all his pitches. He's going to spin the ball. He's going to throw his changeup. Throw his fastball.”

Does Grilli need a rehab stint?

“We haven't had that real-time conversation yet,” Hurdle said.

Let it go

Hurdle was asked if he had spoken to Gerrit Cole about handling his emotions in his first start against the Brewers since he barked at Carlos Gomez for admiring a hit at PNC Park last month, a series of events that led to a benches-clearing brawl.

“If I was going to say that, I wouldn't tell you I was going to say that,” Hurdle told reporters.

Cole's first two pitches Tuesday found the strike zone, not Gomez's back.

Hurdle also was asked how he wanted his club to approach its first game with the Brewers since the Easter brawl.

“I expect us to play with emotion and not play emotionally,” Hurdle said. “I think that can take away from your play. This is a good team we are playing. I think there is adrenaline flowing that we just need to stay focused on what we can control.”

Pepper games

The Pirates entered Tuesday hitting .303 as a team in May after hitting .221 in March/April … Neil Walker has started the first 38 games of the season at second base, the most consecutive starts to begin a season at second by a Pirate since Jose Lind started the first 83 games in 1988.

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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