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Bucs continue to monitor Dickerson (groin)

@_dadler
July 27, 2019

NEW YORK -- Corey Dickerson, who left Friday's series opener against the Mets with left groin discomfort, hit in the cage and played catch before Saturday's game. The Pirates are still assessing his availability, per team director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk. Dickerson did not play in Saturday's loss. Manager

NEW YORK -- Corey Dickerson, who left Friday's series opener against the Mets with left groin discomfort, hit in the cage and played catch before Saturday's game. The Pirates are still assessing his availability, per team director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk. Dickerson did not play in Saturday's loss.

Manager Clint Hurdle said Dickerson came in early Saturday for treatment, and that the Pirates wanted to test his mobility on the field.

The left fielder initially aggravated his groin running a long way to make a catch on Dominic Smith's fly ball in the second inning Friday, then continued to feel the discomfort during his at-bat in the top of the third. Dickerson was replaced by Melky Cabrera in the field to start the bottom of the inning.

Hurdle said Saturday that the Pirates would rather avoid using Cabrera three days in a row, but they might have to depending on Dickerson's status.

Dickerson is batting .303/.365/.500 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 42 games for the Pirates this season after missing a little more than two months with a posterior right shoulder strain.

Brault throws 4-inning bullpen session

Steven Brault, who's been on the injured list since July 6 with a left shoulder strain, threw a four-inning, 68-pitch bullpen session Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

"Overall, everything felt really good," Brault said afterward. "My command was better than I thought it was gonna be. It was pretty consistent for the most part.

"I threw everything. Didn't shy away from anything. There's no feeling even of it being hurt or anything. I don't have to shy away from anything. It was all 100 percent; as much as I could give in a bullpen."

Brault said the plan is likely to throw one more bullpen session, then go on a rehab assignment, although the Pirates haven't determined his exact schedule. Naturally, he really wants to be back.

"So much, dude. I couldn't tell you," Brault said. "It's been about a month or so, and it sucks. Especially since the team's been struggling, I'd like to help my team more than just cheering on the bench. It'll be nice to be back. I'm really excited."

The 27-year-old has a 4.15 ERA in 15 games (nine starts) this season, with 53 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings.

Pirates claim right-hander Markel

Pittsburgh claimed right-hander Parker Markel off waivers from the Mariners on Saturday and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. To make room for Markel on the 40-man roster, the Pirates transferred right-hander Rookie Davis (right middle finger blister) from the 10-day to the 60-day IL.

"I had a conversation today with [general manager Neal Huntington]," Hurdle said. "We like [Markel's] fastball, the breaking ball -- the arm's played big."

Markel made it to the big leagues for the first time this year at age 28, after seven seasons in the Minors with the Rays from 2010-16, a season with the Korea Baseball Organization's Lotte Giants in '17 and a season with the independent league Sioux City Explorers in '18.

Markel made his MLB debut on May 12 and made five relief appearances for Seattle before being designated for assignment Tuesday. He allowed eight earned runs and three homers in 4 2/3 innings, with four walks and three strikeouts. But in 27 Minor League games this season, mostly at Triple-A, Markel has a 2.04 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.

"I know our analysts like him; I know our scouts seem to like him," Hurdle said. "The reports have all been positive. We need to get him in Triple-A, we need him to be more consistent in the strike zone. We'll see what we have."

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.