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Pirates give Martin an extra day of rest

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PITTSBURGH -- Russell Martin was conspicuously absent from the Pirates' lineup for a second consecutive day on Sunday.

Martin did slightly extend his left shoulder on a takeout slide at second base in Friday's game, after which he told MLB.com that he was "lucky" to not incur an injury. Likely, he was sorer than expected the following morning and is getting the time off as a precaution, particularly with Monday's off-day affording him three days of rest.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington indicated you could add any possible issues remaining from the Friday slide to the laundry list of dings catchers normally incur.

"Catcher is a physically-taxing position," Huntington said. "With the pure off-day [on Monday], [Pirates manager Clint Hurdle] and I walked through it and thought it was a good opportunity to give him another day to recover and keep him as strong and sharp as we can for the rest of the season."

Chris Stewart made successive starts for the first time while Martin has been active. Stewart did start consecutive games twice while Martin was spending nearly a month on the DL with a strained left hamstring and Tony Sanchez was the primary catcher.

Stewart does have a .364 lifetime average against Bartolo Colon, the Mets' Sunday starter. Under normal circumstances, he would have started the Sunday day-after-late afternoon game anyway.

So the Bucs were down two regulars in the finale of the four-game series against New York. Starling Marte did return after missing four starts with a jammed middle finger, but did so in center field -- with Andrew McCutchen getting a scheduled day off.

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.

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