Pirates notebook: Jason Martin puts ‘crazy’ days behind him
Jason Martin described his first three days with the Pittsburgh Pirates as “crazy,” but he got down to a business Sunday at PNC Park in a game marred by a benches-clearing dustup in the fourth inning.
He singled, doubled and recorded his first major league RBI in his second consecutive start.
Martin is with the Pirates after only 59 games in Triple-A Indianapolis — where he hit .211 last year — but general manager Neal Huntington made an exception because of circumstances.
“In a perfect world, we like guys to have more time before we ask them to compete at the major league level,” Huntington said. “We felt Jason’s maturity, his intelligence, his skill set played.”
The Pirates are in a serious manpower jam, with Gregory Polanco, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Dickerson on the injured list. Colin Moran played left field for the first time in his major league career Friday.
“Next Pirate up,” Huntington said.
Martin got his career off to a rousing start Saturday, singling in his first at-bat, stealing second base and scoring. After the Pirates’ 6-5, 10-inning victory, he had some personal business to handle.
“I had to run and buy a suit for the road trip (to Chicago). It was still open, luckily,” he said of the Downtown men’s store. “I went out to dinner with my family and fiancée, saw them off to the airport and went and got some rest.”
Martin, 23, admitted, “everything is happening so fast,” but in the midst of it all, he never doubted his ability to play at this level.
“After getting that hit, I was able to settle down and work off that,” he said. “I know I can play at this level, but just being able to get that hit made me feel a lot better going into the rest of the game. Kind of like a sigh of relief.
“Once I got to first (Saturday), I took it all in for a second, listened to (first-base coach Kimera Bartee’s) instructions and now it’s time to play ball.”
Even before he got his two hits Sunday, he heard from several friends.
“My phone is still getting a lot of texts,” he said. “Crazy.”
Polanco, catcher Elias Diaz and pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas have started 20-day rehab assignments with the Single-A Bradenton Marauders. Polanco played in his first game Sunday.
Huntington said he expects the players to use all 20 days to prepare to rejoin the Pirates. After 20 days, they must be reinstated to the 25-man roster, assuming no additional injuries or setbacks.
“They can change our minds if they show they’re ready quicker,” Huntington said.
Polanco’s recovery from September shoulder surgery is going faster than anticipated.
“His work and our (physical therapists’) work with him,” Huntington said, citing reasons. “He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and then some.”
He’s seen Reds history
Legendary Reds play-by-play announcer Marty Brennaman, 76, will retire at the end of the season after 46 years.
He has called almost all of the Reds’ greatest moments, including three World Series-clinching victories (1975, ‘76 and ‘90), Pete Rose’s record-breaking hit (4,192) in ‘85, Tom Browning’s perfect game in ‘88, Tom Seaver’s no-hitter in ‘76 and the 500th and 600th home runs of Ken Griffey Jr.’s career in 2004 and ‘08.
“He’s been a great ambassador for Reds baseball and the game of baseball,” said Clint Hurdle, who met Brennaman when the manager played for the Reds in 1982.
“What a unique year for him and (Pirates announcer Steve) Blass, one more lap around the sun, walking out together. It’s very, very cool.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .