PITTSBURGH -- The situation with Starling Marte's right hand injury improved dramatically from Monday to Tuesday. But Tuesday still brought worse news than expected.
Marte was examined by the Pirates' team doctors on Monday when, according to the outfielder, the recommendation was surgery.
Instead, Marte sought a second opinion on Tuesday morning from Dr. Thomas Graham, the renowned Cleveland orthopedic surgeon, and his prognosis was rest.
"A couple of weeks," Marte said. "Then I can start swinging a bat."
Not the news the club wanted to hear about Marte, who suffered a bruise and ligament damage when stepped on by Arizona third baseman Martin Prado during an attempted steal of third in the Aug. 18 game. He is eligible for activation off the 15-day DL on Sept. 4, but the two-week wait won't be up until Sept. 10.
"It's a contusion with some inflammation and a sprain," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington, elaborating on the results of the medical exams. "He needs time for the swelling to go down and for the sprain to heal. [His timetable] is contingent on how quickly the swelling goes down, and the ligament in there can heal. With the swelling and the pain, he can't grip a bat."
In the absence of their everyday, and dynamic, leadoff hitter, Jose Tabata is getting a crack at the important role.
"He knows the spark he can create up there," manager Clint Hurdle said of Tabata. "It's a different kind of spark than Marte. We don't have anybody who can recreate that."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com 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.