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Back tightness keeps Marte out of lineup

MILWAUKEE -- Pirates outfielder Starling Marte did some light throwing and running before Tuesday's series opener in Milwaukee, but the back tightness that kept him out of the lineup Sunday persisted, and he was absent from the starting nine again.

"We're still going through the process of evaluating him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before Tuesday's tilt with Milwaukee. "We're just trying to work through whether he'll be available off the bench."

Hurdle said there was "a chance" Marte could see the field Tuesday, but he hinted that those odds were remote, likening it to the same volume of "chance" in the famous "Dumb and Dumber" quote, "So you're saying there's a chance."

Marte showed signs of the back bothering him during at-bats against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday. When he left Saturday's game, a Pirates team already resting ailing Andrew McCutchen and missing a suspended Travis Snider resorted to playing first baseman Gaby Sanchez and shortstop Jordy Mercer in right field.

Josh Harrison made the start in right field and led off Tuesday. The club also elected to pair starter Gerrit Cole with catcher Chris Stewart, as was the case in Cole's last start May 7, when he lasted eight strong innings.

Pittsburgh wasn't the only team coming into Tuesday's opener in Milwaukee a bit hobbled. The Brewers placed third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the disabled list with a hamstring issue prior to the game, activating Ryan Braun. The club elected to not send Braun, who spent the minimum amount of time on the DL with a strained oblique, on a rehab assignment Monday in Appleton, Wis., because of inclement weather. That meant Tuesday marked his first experience with live pitching.

JR Radcliffe is a contributor to Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.
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