ATLANTA -- Russell Martin believes he is capable of playing any position on the field. He might get the chance to prove it.
The Pirates started Martin in right field Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves. It is the third position Martin, a catcher, has played for the Pirates this season. He also made two starts and played parts of three games at third base.
"As long as I'm playing, it's going to be fun," Martin said. "As long as I'm going to be in the lineup, I don't care where I am. I feel like I can play any position on the field."
Martin last remembered playing in right field at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., when former Pirate Jose Bautista was his teammate and played center field. Martin played primarily third base in college before converting to catcher in the minors.
The Pirates put him in right Tuesday because they were looking for a spark in the lineup, manager Clint Hurdle said. Travis Snider struggles against left-handed pitching, hitting .111 this season, and Jose Tabata is on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
Hurdle also joked the Pirates were hoping to get Martin as far away as possible from the umpiring crew, one night after Martin picked up his first ejection of the season.
"I thought that was pretty funny," Martin said. "Maybe that's what it is."
The Pirates have used their catcher in the outfield before, most recently with Ryan Doumit in 2010.
As a kid, Martin said he grew up playing shortstop and center and occasionally pitched.
"Obviously, my comfort level is probably highest behind the plate because I played there so much," Martin said. "But it's a challenge. I like challenges."
Skipping a turn
The Pirates will skip the No. 5 spot in the pitching rotation for their upcoming trip to Chicago, meaning Charlie Morton (Tommy John surgery) will get at least one more rehabilitation start before being activated. Jeanmar Gomez, who had been pitching as the team's fifth starter, went on the disabled list Monday with a right forearm strain/inflammation.
Francisco Liriano will start Friday. A.J. Burnett Saturday, and Jeff Locke Sunday.
At last, a left-hander
The Braves Mike Minor was the first left-handed starting pitcher the Pirates have faced since May 18, when Erik Bedard pitched for Houston at PNC Park. Before Bedard, the Pirates hadn't seen a left-handed starter since they face Jonathon Niese and the New York Mets May 11 at Citi Field.
"It had been a long time," Hurdle said.
The manager also said that it seemed as if the Pirates saw nothing but left-handed starters in spring training before starting the regular season against a good mix of right- and left-handed pitching.
"And then, nothing," Hurdle said.
The Pirates, meanwhile have left-handed pitchers in three of their four current starting slots, which makes one thing certain, Hurdle said.
"When we go to town, they're going to see some left-handed starters," he said. "We've got that part of it covered for the rest of the league."
The hit parade
Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of Andrew McCutchen's major league debut. Since then, he is tied with Arizona's Martin Prado for third in the National League with 689 hits, trailing Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (769) and Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips (694).
It also marks the 27-year anniversary of Barry Bonds' first career home run. He homered off Atlanta pitcher Craig McMurtry in a 12-3 Pirates victory June 4, 1986, at Fulton County Stadium.mobilehome - pirates
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino.