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Facing live pitching, Marte working toward return

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said outfielder Starling Marte is close to getting into regular game action. The Pirates left fielder and leadoff hitter has been rehabbing a bruised right hand.

Marte faced live pitching prior to Saturday's 2-1 win over the Cubs when he faced lefty Kris Johnson. He also entered the game late as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

"We're working through some reps with some velocity, with some live arms -- two live-arm sessions, one with Wandy Rodriguez and one with Johnson," Hurdle said. "Today we're going to get him in the cage and crank up some velocity, and some spin as well. I think a little bit more of that, and I anticipate getting him involved in the Padres series somewhere along the line.

"We'll find out where we are, but I want to give him some weapons to go compete, the best we can. It's not going to be a perfect situation."

George Von Benko is a contributor to
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