Pirates notebook: Marte relieved his left hand feels much better

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ST. LOUIS -- Three days after he thought his hand was broken, Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was back in the starting lineup Tuesday night.

Marte was hit on his left hand by a 91 mph fastball Saturday night against Colorado and did not play Sunday. The injury initially was diagnosed as a contusion of the left hand, and a second look Sunday confirmed the injury.

"It felt like it broke my hand because it hurt bad," Marte said. "But, after I saw the doctor, I felt much better. Now, I'm ready to go."

Marte said he received treatment Monday in St. Louis and took part in some pregame drills Tuesday before manager Clint Hurdle put him in the lineup.

When the Pirates announced Monday they planned to call up outfielder Andrew Lambo, some speculated it was a sign that Marte's injury had taken a turn for the worse and that he was bound for the disabled list. Though he did not start Sunday, Marte entered the game as a pinch-runner.

"You don't want to get a day off, but I'm very happy because I get to come back and play," he said.

His potential absence would have been costly.

Entering Tuesday, Marte, the Pirates' leadoff batter, was hitting .282 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs and was tied for third in the National League with 33 stolen bases. He also is one of the top defensive left fielders in the majors because of his speed and arm strength.

But he also had been hit by 20 pitches this season, second most in the league.

"We've got to help him maybe over the winter find a way to evade pitches in a somewhat different manner because he's not getting out of the way," Hurdle said.

He added the Pirates have explained some ways to avoid getting hit to Marte, but adjusting in the batter's box is a reaction, Hurdle said.

Marte has started to wear an elbow guard, but Hurdle wasn't sure if he would start to wear protection for his hand as well.

"It's unfortunate, he's a pinata," Hurdle said.

The Pirates are just glad he didn't break.

Grilli plays catch again

Pirates closer Jason Grilli played catch again Monday, the second time he has thrown the ball since he being sidelined by a flexor strain in his right arm July 22.

"Everything's in pencil," Hurdle said about Grilli's next steps in his recovery.

Last week, Hurdle said he believed Grilli could rejoin the roster as soon as Sept. 1.

Progress for Snider, too

Travis Snider took part in batting practice for the first time since he went on the disabled list July 28 with a left toe injury that is similar to turf toe.

"That will be a good first step as far as seeing the ball and getting back into the swing of things, no pun intended," Snider said

At this point, he said, the pain is "manageable," and he is encouraged by the results of rest and a platelet-rich plasma injection. He has been swinging -- off a tee and with soft flips -- and running laterally.

Hurdle said if all goes well they might send Snider out on a rehabilitation assignment next week while the Pirates deal with a seven-game West Coast road trip.

McCutchen on hot streak

From July 1 through Tuesday, Andrew McCutchen hit .362, the second-best batting average in the NL over that span. Only Jayson Werth (.415) of the Washington Nationals had a higher batting average in that time.

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino.


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