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Pirates notebook: Marte placed on bereavement leave

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 5:57 p.m.
The Pirates' Starling Marte follows through on a triple in the fifth inning against the Cardinals on Monday, July 7, 2014, in St. Louis.
The Pirates' Starling Marte follows through on a triple in the fifth inning against the Cardinals on Monday, July 7, 2014, in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS —The Pirates on Wednesday placed outfielder Starling Marte on bereavement leave and selected infielder Matt Hague from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Marte left the team because of the death of his mother-in-law.

A player may stay on the bereavement list for three to seven days. There was no immediate word on how long Marte is expected to be out. The Pirates have four games left before the All-Star break.

Hague was in uniform against the St. Louis Cardinals.

To open a spot on the 40-man roster for Hague, right-handed reliever Duke Welker was designated for assignment. Welker has been rehabbing at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla., after having Tommy John surgery.

At Indy, Hague hit .267 with 13 home runs and leads the International League with 59 RBIs. In 2012, he played in 30 games with the Pirates and batted .229.

“He's given quality at-bats for two years now,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He's gone down there with a very professional work ethic, as far as showing up ready to play and being dependable.”

Jose Tabata could have been an option for a call up, but he's missed the past couple of games with Indy after twice being hit by pitches in the same spot on his left forearm.

Liriano set for Sunday

Hurdle said left-hander Francisco Liriano (strained oblique) will be activated off the disabled list Sunday to start against the Cincinnati Reds.

Right-hander Vance Worley, who had been scheduled to pitch Sunday, instead will work out of the bullpen the final two games before the All-Star break.

Post-break rotation in limbo

Right-hander Gerrit Cole was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 5. Right-hander Brandon Cumpton was recalled from Indy to start Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cole (sore right lat) will be eligible to be activated July 20, but might be out longer than that. With his status in limbo, Hurdle is working through different options for how to structure the starting rotation after the All-Star break.

The Pirates begin the second half with six home games against the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers. They then go on a 10-game road trip against the Rockies, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks that will carry through the trade deadline.

“There's always some challenges setting up the rotation after four days down (for the break),” Hurdle said. “Everybody tries to seed their guys, who you want to optimize getting out of the chute quick, who can provide the biggest impact as we kick off the second half. You have to prioritize who you want to get up and running first.”

TJ surgery no panacea

General manager Neal Huntington said he found “astonishing” a 2011 survey by New York Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad that revealed 50 percent of high school players believe Tommy John surgery will enhance performance and that healthy children who have the operation will throw harder.

“Get the message out that it is not true,” Huntington said. “There is a tremendous risk that comes along with Tommy John. They should do everything in their power to protect their sons' arms and not think they should get Tommy John proactively. If they need examples, they can talk to any player who's gone through it. It's not easy.”

The success rate for Tommy John surgery is about 90 percent. However, recovery and rehabilitation usually takes at least a year.

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

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