The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to get talented, young outfielder Starling Marte back for yesterday’s game, and he has been out of the Pirates starting lineup since Wednesday with soreness in his rib cage. The 24-year-old did not start yesterday, but it is encouraging to see that his rib is getting better. Marte was able to join the Pirates yesterday as a defensive replacement later on in the game, and he was able to take two at-bats (no hits, though). His left rib cage injury is getting better, and it will be interesting to see if he is able to jump right back into the Pirates starting lineup again.
The Pirates need Marte to be healthy and effective for the season in order to help beat “The Streak”, and Marte has been a key cog for the Pirates with a solid .355 OBP this season. Alex Presley is a quality backup, though, and he did a solid job for Marte in left. The great news about Marte’s return is that it confirms that he won’t be headed to the disabled list with the injury, and he received a decent amount of playing time yesterday in his return as a defensive replacement.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Travis Sawchik reports that starting pitcher James McDonald could start off in the bullpen once he is activated from the 15-day disabled list. He’s been on there for quite some time with right shoulder inflammation, and the starting rotation is getting too crowded for McDonald, who might not even be able to get his starting gig back if Gerrit Cole and the others keep impressing. The Pirates decision to call up Cole, as well as Charlie Morton’s play has made McDonald not needed. McDonald is sporting a 5.76 ERA so far this season, and he hasn’t looked better in three rehab starts. McDonald should be back on the Pirates roster soon, but it’s best for the Pirates to give him those innings in long relief without place for him in the starting rotation.