Speedy Marte seems on fast track to Bucs

Speedy Marte seems on fast track to Bucs

Remember when Pirates general manager Neal Huntington's advice to fans at the beginning of Spring Training who wanted to check out top prospect Starling Marte was to get there quick, because he wouldn't be around the Grapefruit League too long?

Sure enough, the Bucs hustled Marte out of big league camp to let him continue his development in relative privacy after he'd batted .520 (13-for-25) in a dozen exhibitions.

Well, now fans of the Indianapolis Indians are getting the same suggestion: If you want an in-person look at the Triple-A version of Marte, hurry up. He may not be around the International League too long, either.

"The Pirates want him to get a little seasoning, but I wouldn't expect he'll be here very long," Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor recently told the Indianapolis Star. "Still, I think the timing has to be right. I think they want him to face some more veteran pitching before they call him up, but I really don't expect him to be here an extended period of time."

Through his first 13 games, the 2011 Eastern League batting champ was holding his own, with 11 hits in 49 at-bats, four of them for extra bases. He leads the league with seven stolen bases, and is yet to be caught.

The speed factor could be particularly appealing, with the Pirates having been thrown out on five of their first 13 stolen-base attempts, with limited first-to-third ability. However, manager Clint Hurdle said during Spring Training the Pirates couldn't afford committing a roster spot to someone primarily for his speed.