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Pirates notebook: Polanco, Puig held out of series opener

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 8:45 p.m.
The Pirates' Gregory Polanco watches the game against the Dodgers from the bench Monday, July 21, 2014, at PNC Park.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Gregory Polanco watches the game against the Dodgers from the bench Monday, July 21, 2014, at PNC Park.

The Pirates' and Dodgers' dynamic young right fielders were missing from their respective starting lineups Monday.

Gregory Polanco got the day off against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Yasiel Puig missed his second straight start with a sore left hand.

Polanco entered the day hitless in his past 11 at-bats. After batting .288 in 19 games in June with a .375 slugging percentage and .374 on-base percentage and 10 RBIs, he is batting .194 in 16 games (14 starts) in July with a .258 slugging percentage, a .275 on-base percentage and four RBIs.

“He continues to play, continues to fight, continues to battle,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “This wasn't unexpected from us by any means, and we just have to keep working with him and keep reminding him that this is the major leagues.

“You do well here, you're not going to go up again. You have to figure out how to reboot and recalibrate, and that's what he's working on right now.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Puig, who was hit by a pitch from the Cardinals' Joe Kelly, was supposed to get an X-ray Monday afternoon. It was unclear whether he'd be available off the bench.

“We don't feel like there's going to be anything on this X-ray, but finding that out will make us feel even better,” Mattingly said. “We feel pretty good right now. It will become just a matter of time.”

Bastardo may be trade target

With the July 31 trade deadline looming, the Pirates were among at least 10 teams who had scouts in Philadelphia on Monday to watch the Phillies play the San Francisco Giants. Although they have little interest in pricey starter Cliff Lee, the Pirates are checking out left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo.

Bastardo, 28, has made 42 appearances and has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He's not a lefty specialist, either. He has held left-handed batters to a .143 average and right-handers to a .163 average.

The Phillies have three lefties in their bullpen, so they likely are willing to deal. The cost could be something along the lines of a position player or two from either the Single- or Double-A level.

Bastardo is making $2 million this season and has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.

OK to say no

Discussing the off-field lifestyle adjustments Polanco has had to make at the big-league level, Hurdle relayed a story that happened in St. Louis on the last road trip.

Walking across the street from the ballpark to his hotel by himself, Polanco was stopped by fans asking for autographs. Hurdle watched the crowd grow until he decided it was time to step in.

“I got him around the arm and said, ‘Come on with me,' ” Hurdle said. “Of course you get a big kick-back, but I just said, ‘I'm sorry. I'm the bad guy here, but he doesn't have the responsibility to sign every autograph he's asked to sign every night, so I'm going to take him away.' There's a lot of newness along those lines. He's figuring it out.”

Martinez gets nod

Michael Martinez got his fifth career start in right field in place of Polanco. He started one game for the Pirates at second base, and he has made appearances at all three outfield positions, second, third and shortstop during his career.

“I just have to be the same everywhere I play,” he said. “I'm not an outfielder, really, but I just play everywhere. Whatever they need, I'll be ready for.”

Extra bases

Starling Marte was back in the starting lineup for the first time since Friday, when he was hit by a pitch on his batting helmet. … Gerrit Cole (right lat soreness) will throw a simulated game Wednesday that will include one inning behind the screen and three with hitters. He is expected to throw 50-60 pitches. ... Josh Harrison started at third in place of Pedro Alvarez.

Karen Price and Rob Biertempfeld are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Price at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib. Reach Biertempfel at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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