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Pirates notebook: Marte passes concussion tests, but finger injury lingers

| Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 12:18 p.m.
The Pirates' Starling Marte (right) is helped to the clubhouse after getting injured attempting to steal second base during the fifth inning against the Rays on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After enduring a nasty collision Tuesday night, Pirates left fielder Starling Marte passed concussion tests and will not go on the disabled list.

But a finger injury he suffered in the incident could keep him out of the lineup longer than his aching head.

“We're giving him a day down,” manager Clint Hurdle said before Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “He slept well and feels much better today than he did yesterday.”

Marte was injured during a stolen-base attempt in the fifth inning. Sliding face-first, Marte's head smacked into second baseman Sean Rodriguez's leg.

“He was blocking the base,” Marte said. “I had nowhere to go.”

After the play, Marte stayed on his knees for a couple of minutes. His legs appeared wobbly as he was guided off the field by athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk.

“I was pretty bad,” Marte said.

Marte jammed his right middle finger into Rodriguez's foot. The finger was stiff, bruised and badly swollen Wednesday afternoon.

“I'm not able to throw right now,” Marte said. “Maybe in a day or two.”

Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer saw the play unfold from the dugout. He said those types of collisions sometimes are unavoidable.

“As a middle infielder, you try to put the tag down as quickly as possible and get the heck out of the way,” Mercer said. “But sometimes, the throw doesn't let you do that, so you have to hang in there. Those base-stealers come in hard. So when they hit, they hit hard.”

Cole to return Saturday

Hurdle said right-hander Gerrit Cole will be activated off the disabled list Saturday and will start that night against the New York Mets.

“We're in discussions right now about what that will do to the rotation,” Hurdle said.

Right-hander Brandon Cumpton is listed as Friday's probable starter. The most likely scenario is Cumpton (3-2, 4.93 ERA) will be optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis after that game and Cole will take his spot on the active roster.

Cole was placed on the DL June 8 because of right shoulder fatigue.

Trouble with the dome

Right fielder Gregory Polanco failed to catch Logan Forsythe's high fly ball, which plopped down a couple of feet away from Polanco for a triple Tuesday night.

Blame the white domed roof at Tropicana Field.

“I couldn't see anything,” Polanco said.

There was nothing Polanco could do in the minors to prepare him for a domed stadium in the big leagues. Hurdle was not fazed by Polanco's miscue.

“I told him to just keep playing,” Hurdle said. “There's not many domes he's going to have to play in. He's fine.”

Worley's second chance

Right-hander Vance Worley had surgery in September 2012 to remove a loose body and a bone spur from his elbow. It took more of a toll than he expected.

“It was minor surgery, nothing crazy,” Worley said. “But I never really bounced back.”

Before the operation, Worley unconsciously altered his mechanics to protect his sore elbow. He wasn't immediately able to rediscover the form that helped him go 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 2011.

“I wasn't getting any angle, so everything stayed flat,” Worley said. “Curveball stayed up, cutter stayed up, fastball stayed up. That won't work at this level.”

After Worley had a disastrous 2013 season, the Minnesota Twins decided to convert him into a setup reliever during spring training. It was their last-ditch move before giving up on Worley. A few days before camp ended, he was traded to the Pirates to work as a starter.

“All I was thinking was, ‘Thank God' because I was back in a role that I'm comfortable with,” Worley said.

So far, so good. Worley is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA since being called up from Indy on June 15. His next start is Thursday against the Mets.

Minor matters

Assistant general manager Kyle Stark said prized shortstop prospect Alen Hason, who has missed the past five games at Double-A Altoona, is not serving a suspension. “We are giving Alen a blow from competition for a period of time to work on some things,” Stark said via email. “There is no suspension or definitive period of time. This is for internal developmental reasons.” ... Left-hander Jhonathan Ramos was promoted to Indianapolis. Ramos went 2-3 with a 5.27 ERA in 23 relief outings with Double-A Altoona.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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