PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte returned to reclaim his left-field job -- but he couldn't reclaim his role as the Pirates' leadoff batter.
On Friday, that still belonged to Brock Holt, who went 5-for-11 the previous three days. Marte was 2-for-12 in three rehab games that concluded his recovery from the strained right oblique that had him on the disabled list since Aug. 19. The Pirates activated the rookie outfielder prior to the opener of a weekend set against the Cubs.
Marte's numbers in one game with Class Short-Season State College and two with Triple-A Indianapolis were irrelevant, of course. The important thing for him was "showing no limitations," in manager Clint Hurdle's assessment.
"He's physically fit and ready to to," added Hurdle, ecstatic to have Marte back in the mix. "The athleticism he brings is very unique. To have that in the lineup on both sides of the ball gives us an added weapon we need to take advantage of.
"[But Holt remains on top] based on what I've seen the last four days -- the performance and the production. He's been playing at a Major League speed. Marte needs to catch up a little bit."
Marte batted leadoff in each of his first 22 starts with the Bucs following his July 25 promotion from Indianapolis.