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Pirates notebook: Tabata gets nod over Marte in left field

| Saturday, June 7, 2014, 3:51 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata makes a running catch during the first inning against the Brewers Friday, June, 6, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates left fielder Jose Tabata catches a ball hit by the Brewers' Lyle Overbay at the outfield wall during the second inning Saturday, June, 7, 2014, at PNC Park.

Another day, another Pirates starting lineup without Starling Marte in left field.

Jose Tabata got the nod for the second game in a row, and while his numbers against Brewers right-hander Matt Garza were good (.438, 7-for-16), as they were against Milwaukee Kyle Lohse on Friday, Marte still has work to do, manager Clint Hurdle said Saturday.

“He has not struggled like this anywhere, ever, and it freaks him out a little bit,” Hurdle said. “I said, well, you just joined the club because it happens to everybody.”

Hurdle said the Pirates thought they noticed something that could help during Marte's early work in the cage on Friday.He didn't elaborate.

“I'm not that giddy hitting coach that says we discovered something in the cage and then run him out in the game,” Hurdle said. “He doesn't need that. We'll continue to work and get him an opportunity to play, and by the at-bats in the game we'll have a much better gauge on whether there's been some progress made or not.”

Marte is hitting .234 this season, but just .188 in the past 28 days. He is in an 0-for-20 streak at the plate. He did not bat Saturday.

Hurdle made a point to mention Marte's relative lack of at-bats at the Triple-A level (388) as a possible contributing factor relative to his recent struggles. Now that the league has punched back, Hurdle said, Marte has to figure out a way to recover.

Hurdle had a 20-minute conversation with Marte, who last started a game June 2, in San Diego.

“I encouraged him that I'm not going to worry, and you shouldn't worry. You should work,” said Hurdle, adding that he has not considered sending Marte to Triple-A Indianapolis.

“There are times you think you've helped, then there are times you aren't sure. There are times I walk out the door and sense him feeling lighter. I don't know if he's ever had that conversation because he's never been in that situation before.

Didn't have it in A-ball. Didn't have it in Triple-A. Didn't have to have it anywhere. I felt it was meaningful in that standpoint.”

Marte admitted that he may have been putting too much pressure on himself. Hurdle talked to him about things he can control and things he can't, and he believes the conversation helped.

“He told me the only thing I can do is be positive and confident and play hard,” Marte said. “He told me he believes in me.”

Pirates select NA grad

The Pirates once again drafted mainly from the college ranks in the final 30 rounds of the draft on Saturday, selecting just five high school players. Included among the college players drafted is Kent State's Eric Dorsch, a 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander from Gibsonia who graduated from North Allegheny. Dorsch was 2-4 with 3.56 ERA in 27 relief appearances, covering 30 13 innings this season.

In all, the college players taken on Saturday include 13 right-handers, two left-handers, three outfielders, one catcher, two shortstops, three second basemen and one third baseman.

Familiar names drafted

The Nationals selected DJ Jauss, son of Pirates coach Dave Jauss, in the 29th round, and the Orioles drafted Brandon Bonilla, son of former Pirates third baseman/right fielder Bobby Bonilla, in the 25th round, 751st overall.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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