Marte likely to return to DR lineup Thursday

Marte likely to return to DR lineup Thursday

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates center fielder Starling Marte should return to the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic lineup on Thursday, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said.

Marte, nursing an injured right ankle, has played in only one of the team's four games thus far. He started in center field against Team USA on Saturday and went 3-for-4 with a home run off Andrew Miller. He sat out against Canada in Thursday's opener, against Colombia on Sunday and against Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

In Marte's absence, Gregory Polanco started in center field for the Dominican Republic. Polanco, shifted from right to left field with the Pirates this year, is 6-for-11 with a double and a steal through three games in his first World Baseball Classic.

Polanco's RBI single

The Dominican team went 3-0 to advance out of Pool C but lost, 3-1, to Puerto Rico in San Diego. Marte's return to the lineup should come Thursday against Venezuela.

"I don't think anybody in any camp, regardless of the WBC or Spring Training, is at 100 percent," Tomczyk said. "He is in a good enough place to compete."

Pirates in the World Baseball Classic
With Canada bounced from the tournament, non-roster third baseman Eric Wood rejoined the Pirates on Wednesday with nothing but rave reviews about the experience.

"It was pretty surreal. So many fans. Just the atmosphere, it was electric," said Wood, whose Canadian team went 0-3 against the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Team USA. "This was my first time playing in an atmosphere like that. It was really special. Wearing the red and white, too, was really special."

Manager Clint Hurdle asked Wood about the trip, and the resulting conversation -- similarly full of excitement -- lasted 10 minutes.

"I had him empty his pockets for me," Hurdle said. "I wanted to hear all about it from the time that he left, everything that went on."

With Italy and Israel also eliminated, catcher Francisco Cervelli will return to camp on Thursday and left-hander Jared Lakind at some point after that. Marte, Polanco, Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison remain out of camp to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at

Trainer's room
• Non-roster infielder Jason Rogers (right ankle discomfort) is not yet ready to play in games. Rogers is hitting, fielding, throwing and doing light agility work, Tomczyk said, but not running full-speed.

• Right-hander Brandon Cumpton, a non-roster invitee returning from Tommy John and shoulder surgeries, threw off the slope of the mound Wednesday for the second time. Cumpton is not ready to pitch in games, but he's "getting there," Tomczyk said.

• Non-roster right-hander Jason Stoffel (right shoulder discomfort) is expected to resume flat-ground throwing later this week. Stoffel has not pitched this spring.

Weather report
While it snowed in Pittsburgh and throughout the northeastern United States, the temperature dipped to 57 degrees at first pitch on a windy Wednesday afternoon at LECOM Park.

Hurdle offered the following weather report for those up north: "Hey, we're struggling down here. We've got 12 inches of wind. … Then I say sorry."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.