Marte red hot atop Bucs' batting order

Marte red hot atop Bucs' batting order

PHOENIX -- If the Pittsburgh offense was a stage play, it would still be in the off-Broadway rehearsal stage. The opening act, however, has already been boffo -- Starling Marte is a best-case scenario unfolding atop the Pirates' lineup.

The dynamic left fielder had his fifth consecutive two-hit game on Wednesday, and drove in his fourth run of the season. It's been Marte -- he improved his batting average to .333 -- and the smidgens -- the rest of the team had a .128 average coming into the game.

While he waits for the rest of the batting order to come to order, manager Clint Hurdle has the luxury of choosing which iconic leadoff batter he wants Marte to emulate.

"One thing we're mindful of -- we want this kid to be aggressive in the strike zone. We're not looking for him to become Maury Wills," Hurdle said. "More of a Rickey Henderson-type leadoff hitter.

"His at-bats have continually cleaned up, throughout Spring Training into the season. He gives us a spark -- an explosive spark -- at the top of the lineup."

With Marte, there is a lot more, obviously. Speed on the bases, defensive range and arm.

"The excitement when he gets on base, we've already seen. It's a good package," Hurdle concluded.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.