MILWAUKEE -- Reliever Jason Grilli threw a simulated game Wednesday at Miller Park and came away with good results as he works his way back from the oblique strain that has kept him out since April 21.
"He had a good day," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He threw two innings, 12 pitches and 12 pitches. He threw all his pitches and felt very good afterwards. I have yet to talk to Ray [Searage, pitching coach] and Neal [Huntington, general manager] to see what the next step would be, so I have no information to follow what we're going to do next, other than he had a very good day today."
Thursday looked like a deadline day for the Pirates to make a decision about whether to place outfielder Starling Marte on the disabled list with the back ailment that held him out of a third straight start Wednesday. The Pirates were, after all, in need of a roster spot to activate starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez off the disabled list so he could make the following afternoon start at Miller Park.
By the eighth inning Wednesday night, it appeared Pittsburgh had an answer. Marte appeared in the team's contest with Milwaukee as a pinch-hitter, striking out against Will Smith, but showing he was ready to get back on the field. Marte took batting practice for the first time since the back flared up over the weekend earlier in the day.
"There will come a point in time where we have to make a decision," Hurdle said before the game. "I've always had a date in my mind that we've kept in play, how many days you can carry [an injured] player before you need to take the next step. We're not at that point yet. Today can be a good day if he goes out and swings."
Catcher Russell Martin, on the DL since April 26 with a hamstring strain, took batting practice Wednesday but still has no timetable for return.
"He had another good day today … hit live pitching," Hurdle said of Martin. "He took BP so I think we're in a good place with him. He's feeling as good as he ever has. We have to put the catching component into it, squatting, catching. Swinging at breaking balls today helped because there's some torque involved there, and we continue to challenge him a little bit more every day. He feels good, there's just a little more to be done."
Hurdle said he did not know if Martin or Grilli would be sent on rehab assignments.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.