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Pirates notebook: Marte to begin rehab stint at Triple-A Saturday

| Thursday, July 31, 2014, 8:57 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte is tagged out at home plate by Rockies catcher Wilin Rosaro during the fifth inning Friday, July 18, 2014, at PNC Park.

PHOENIX — Left fielder Starling Marte (concussion symptoms) will begin a rehab stint Saturday with Triple-A Indianapolis.

In the first game, Marte is scheduled to play only as long as it takes to get four at-bats. In each of the next two games, he'll play all nine innings in the field. In the last game, he'll be the designated hitter.

“We're looking to get him 16 to 18, possibly 20, at-bats,” manager Clint Hurdle said.

If all goes well, Marte could rejoin the Pirates on Wednesday in the midst of a series against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park.

Bullpen help

Although the Pirates did not add a relief pitcher Thursday before the non-waiver trade deadline, there soon could be a new face in the bullpen.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole (sore lat) will make his second rehab start Saturday and figures to rejoin the Pirates' rotation later next week. That could mean one of the current starters moves into the bullpen, at least temporarily.

“When we get Gerrit back, we're going to have to make some decisions,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We've got some guys in Triple-A who, as the season goes on, might be an option for us in the bullpen. We've got some guys who are close to turning a corner. We've got other guys we need to push to turn a corner.”

Hurdle looks forward

Before the first game of each series, Hurdle and the players hold a short closed-door strategy meeting. His talking points Thursday afternoon included a postscript about the non-waiver trade deadline.

“We'll look for each individual to get a little bit better,” Hurdle said. “I feel confident, based on the work we've done in the last five or six weeks, that we can compete. We also have some people who have more upside (than they've shown). So, we have confidence moving forward.”

The Pirates were linked to several big names leading up to the deadline but did not make any trades. Hurdle doesn't want the players to read too much into it.

“We encourage our guys to be players — not general managers, managers or coaches,” Hurdle said. “There's got to be trust at all levels. Our general manager doesn't come down here and question the guys on what happened during the game. He trusts what we do, and we trust what he does.”

Minor leaguer claimed

Right-hander Angel Sanchez was claimed off waivers and assigned to Double-A Altoona. Sanchez was 1-11 with a 6.96 ERA with the Chicago White Sox's Double-A affiliate.

Last year, Sanchez, 24, was the Los Angeles Dodgers' No. 8-ranked prospect. This season, he bounced around the minors with the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and White Sox.

Minor league pitcher Josh Wall was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Sanchez on the Pirates' 40-man roster.

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

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