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Pirates notebook: Huntington staying patient as trade deadline approaches

| Sunday, July 20, 2014, 4:45 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
The Pirates' Starling Marte pinch hits during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, July 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
The Pirates' Starling Marte takes off his gloves after walking as a pinch hitter during the sixth inning against the Rockies Sunday, July 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
The Pirates' Starling Marte watches from the dugout during a game against the Rockies Sunday, July 20, 2014, at PNC Park.

With less than two weeks to go before the MLB nonwaiver trade deadline, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said “asks” are still predictably high because teams that deal early have to preempt the market.

The Pirates have the payroll flexibility to make a move, however, and Huntington said they are looking for players who can make them better without having to pay too high a price.

“It's the basic law of supply and demand,” he said. “There's not a lot of teams that are looking to sell, and there are a lot of teams looking to buy. There's not a ton of players out there who are significant upgrades. There are some guys you think can be, so as a result asking prices higher than you'd like. It's a balance of what do you give up for projected current wins for projected future wins.”

With veteran backup Clint Barmes still a while from returning from a groin injury, Huntington said Sunday that they are still looking to find a shortstop.

“We're absolutely still looking to see what might be out there externally,” he said. “The challenge is to move a guy in, even mid-July, you're paying more than you'd like to. If you can be patient you may end up paying less on July 31, or there may be a heavier market and you end up paying more. It's all part of the game of the trade deadline.”

Last year's nonwaiver deadline came and went quietly for the Pirates, but they made up for it in August by adding Marlon Byrd, John Buck and Justin Morneau prior to the waiver deadline. Huntington said that wasn't the game plan last year, nor is it this year to wait until August to make a move.

“We worked hard in July. We just didn't find what we thought was the right fit,” he said.

Marte misses 2nd start

Left fielder Starling Marte was on the bench again as he continues to work through the protocols in place following a head injury, including monitoring how he responds to exertion. Marte pinch hit and drew a walk in the sixth inning.

“It's not technically classified as a concussion,” Huntington said. “It's more head trauma and a contusion. From a concussion standpoint, we'll see where he goes.

“We're not through the process of definitely not going on the 7-day concussion DL because it is a head trauma, but at this point in time he's going through the concussion protocol and making great progress. But it is a gray area. He may wake up two days from now and have regressed, or he may wake up two days from now and feel 100 percent ready to go. You can never be too careful with these things.”

Cole's next step TBD

Gerrit Cole threw a “very good” side session, Huntington said, but they won't decide on his next step until they see how he feels Monday.

Possibilities include another bullpen or a simulated game.

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

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