Now Commenting On:

Marte could be pinch-runner upon return until healthy

Marte could be pinch-runner upon return until healthy

Marte could be pinch-runner upon return until healthy

ST. LOUIS -- While Starling Marte works his way back to all-around playing condition, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle might channel Billy Hamilton and call on Marte's legs before his hands come into play.

"We might get to the point of just activating him and just using him to run, once we're comfortable with that," Hurdle said.

Hamilton is the Cincinnati prospect who set a Minor League record with his 155 steals last season. Called up by the Reds days ago, he has appeared in two games -- only as a pinch-runner, both times stealing a base and scoring a key run in the recent series with the Cardinals.

Marte last played on Aug. 18, six days before he formally went on the disabled list with a right hand contusion. During an off-day workout on Thursday, for the first time he was able to grip a bat with both hands, taking some swings off a tee.

"He's close with his throwing," Hurdle reported of the left fielder, "and he's ramped up all his running."

Complicating Marte's return is that he won't be able to have the benefit of any rehab games, with Minor League playoffs winding down. Hurdle said the club will do the best it can with alternatives.

"We'll recreate a game as much as we can," Hurdle said. "Maybe take one of the surplus arms in the bullpen and have him throw to him, make that a pitcher's assignment for the day."

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.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español