MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - INSIDE PITCH
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says left fielder Starling Marte has become a "pinata." It's an apt description.
Marte, the Pirates' leadoff hitter, has been hit by a pitch 20 times this season in 113 games. The only major-leaguer to be hit more often is Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who has been plunked 23 times.
Marte has been a baseball magnet throughout his professional career. In six minor-league seasons, he was hit by 70 pitches.
The Pirates fear Marte might eventually suffer a significant injury. They can ill afford to lose him as he entered Wednesday night's game at St. Louis hitting .279 with 10 home runs, 34 stolen bases and a .343 on-base percentage in his first full major-league season.
"We've got to help him find a way to avoid pitches," Hurdle said. "He's not getting out of the way. We all see that."
Marte suffered a scare last Saturday when he was hit in the left hand by a pitch from Colorado left-handed reliever Josh Outman. Marte left the game and the Pirates originally feared the hand was broken, though X-rays were negative.
The Pirates limited Marte to pinch-running duties the following day but he was back in the lineup for Tuesday night's game at St. Louis.
The Pirates are working with Marte on how to get away from pitches but the progress is slow.
"It's a completely reactionary movement in the box," Hurdle said. "You either pull back or turn around or just stay there. That's not been one of Marte's strengths, avoiding pitches."
MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost four
PAST 10 GAMES: 5-5
NEXT: Pirates (Francisco Liriano, 12-5, 2.83) at Cardinals (Shelby Miller, 11-7, 2.89)
--RHP Charlie Morton pitched well enough to win, but was denied when Pittsburgh coughed up an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth. Morton scattered seven hits over six innings, allowing two runs and fanning three. Morton sailed through the first three innings on just 36 pitches, enabling him to get reasonably deep into the game.
--LHP Francisco Liriano dominated St. Louis, against whom he starts Wednesday night, in a 9-2 victory on July 29. Getting the Cardinals to repeatedly sucker for breaking balls in the dirt, Liriano allowed just one run over seven innings. He's coming off a disaster at Coors Field Friday night, when he allowed a career-high 10 runs on 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 10-1 loss to Colorado.
--OF Jose Tabata (flu-like symptoms) was scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup about 90 minutes before first pitch. Tabata was probably looking forward to the game as he was 6-for-15 in his career against Adam Wainwright and has hit safely in 21 of his 23 career games at Busch Stadium.
--OF Andrew Lambo was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and inserted in the lineup when Tabata was scratched, going 0-for-3. It was the MLB debut for Lambo, who cracked 31 homers this year between Double-A Altoona and Indy, tying him for the minor league lead. Lambo is the first Pirate minor leaguer to belt 31 homers since Steve Pearce did it in 2007.
--OF Alex Presley was optioned down to Indianapolis to make room for OF Andrew Lambo. Presley played in 29 games, hitting .264 with two homers and four RBIs. He will likely be back up with Pittsburgh in September for the team's final playoff push.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had plenty of chances to (win) the game. We gave ourselves opportunities and weren't able to succeed." -- CF Andrew McCutchen, after falling to the Cardinals 4-3 in 14 innings Tuesday.
MLB Team Report - Pittsburgh Pirates - ROSTER REPORT
--LF Starling Marte (bruised left hand) was hit by a pitch Aug. 10 and left the game then was limited to pinch-running duty Aug. 11. He returned to the lineup Aug. 13.
--OF Travis Snider (left big toe discomfort) went on the 15-day disabled list July 28. He started light baseball activities Aug. 6, including playing catch. He began taking batting practice Aug. 13.
--RHP Jason Grilli (strained flexor tendon in right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list July 23. He will need four to eight weeks of rest but not surgery, the team announced July 26. Grilli visited Dr. James Andrews to have the arm examined. He began playing catch Aug. 10.
--LHP Wandy Rodriguez (left forearm tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6. He started playing catch June 13 and threw off a mound June 18. He made a rehab start June 23 for Triple-A Indianapolis, but he subsequently felt soreness in his arm. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection July 1 and was shut down. He started playing catch July 24. He threw off the mound Aug. 7 and Aug. 9.
--RHP Jeff Karstens (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 27. Karstens underwent surgery June 7 to debride his shoulder. He reported to the Pirates' training facility in Bradenton, Fla., on Aug. 8 to start a throwing program and the Pirates are hopeful they can use him as a reliever in September.
--RHP James McDonald (right shoulder discomfort) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 1 and was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 12. He made two rehab starts for Double-A Altoona and four for Triple-A Indianapolis but still felt pain in his shoulder. He was examined July 2 by team orthopedist Keith Meister, who concurred with the Pirates' medical staff that McDonald has no structural damage in the shoulder. McDonald began a throwing program July 22 and started throwing off a mound Aug. 5. McDonald is being built up to throw 50 pitches in order to pitch in relief when he is activated in September.
--C Michael McKenry (sprained left knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 28. He underwent surgery July 30 to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.
--RHP Phil Irwin (nerve inflammation near right elbow) was recalled from the minors and placed on the 60-day disabled list June 3. He underwent surgery on his right elbow July 3 to reposition the ulna nerve and will likely miss the remainder of the season.
RHP A.J. Burnett
LHP Francisco Liriano
LHP Jeff Locke
RHP Charlie Morton
RHP Gerrit Cole
RHP Mark Melancon
LHP Tony Watson
LHP Justin Wilson
RHP Vin Mazzaro
RHP Bryan Morris
RHP Jeanmar Gomez
RHP Jared Hughes
1B Garrett Jones
2B Neil Walker
SS Clint Barmes
3B Pedro Alvarez
INF Jordy Mercer
INF Gaby Sanchez
INF/OF Josh Harrison
LF Starling Marte
CF Andrew McCutchen
RF Andrew Lambo