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Pirates notebook: Marte held out after scare

| Saturday, July 19, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte falls to the ground after being hit in the head by a pitch during the seventh inning Friday, July 18, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole fires up teammates in the dugout before a game against the Rockies on Friday, July 18, 2014, at PNC Park.

Pirates left fielder Starling Marte was held out of the lineup Saturday after being hit with a pitch on the side of the batting helmet in Friday night's game. Manager Clint Hurdle was optimistic Marte soon will be back in the lineup.

“I think we are still trying to accumulate information, give him some time,” Hurdle said prior to Saturday's game. “It's less than 24 hours after the hit by pitch. There are precautionary measures in place. We'll see if he's available off the bench.”

In the seventh inning Friday, Colorado Rockies right-handed reliever Adam Ottovino hit Marte with an 0-2 fastball.

Hurdle did not mention Marte having concussion-like symptoms. Marte declined to speak with reporters after Friday's game and was not available prior to Saturday's game.

Marte's mental errors continue

Prior to his scary moment, Marte made another baserunning error. He ran through a stop sign from third base coach Nick Leyva when he was thrown out at home plate in Friday's game.

“If you look at the video tape, I think there was a point in time rounding second base that he just made his mind up to go,” Hurdle said. “That comes with baseball awareness and experience. That's an area where he has plenty of room to improve upon. There's been some situation on the bases where the awareness is not where you'd like it to be. We are trying to help him through those situations.”

Alvarez works on throwing

Pedro Alvarez worked on throws from third base for a second straight day prior to batting practice, this time with Leyva interacting and discussing mechanics with Alvarez.

Alvarez leads baseball with 21 errors, and 20 of the miscues have been on throws. No other major leaguer has more than 11 throwing errors. The errors have a common thread as they have typically occurred on routine throwing opportunities — when Alvarez has time to think — and 15 of the errors have come on throws when Alvarez has ranged to his left. Alvarez has thrown more accurately on more difficult plays.

“Instinctively, when there is no other option but to make a play and get rid of the ball, it can be a benefit,” Hurdle said. “It's all about work and perseverance.”

No update on Cole

Gerrit Cole (lat strain) was seen speaking with Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and assistant athletic trainer Ben Potenziano on the field prior to Saturday's game. Hurdle had no pregame update on the next step for Cole in his rehab process. The Pirates are expected to proceed cautiously because Cole has made two trips to the disabled list since the beginning of June. Cole reported his Thursday bullpen session went well and he was experiencing no residual pain Friday.

Polanco on cusp of breakout?

Pirates prized rookie Gregory Polanco has been scuffling recently, but Hurdle believes he saw some positive signs in Friday's game when Polanco drove the ball deep to left field several times against left-handed Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa.

“We were very encouraged by the overall approach throughout the game,” Hurdle said, “his ability to stay on balls longer, take balls on the outer-third in that direction.”

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

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