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Marte comes off bench to hit after missing two starts

PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte came off the bench and pinch-hit in the sixth inning Sunday. It was noteworthy because it was his first action after being held out of the Pirates' starting lineup two consecutive games as he dealt with head trauma from a fastball he took off the helmet Friday night.

Marte -- who was hit with a 93-mph fastball from Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino -- drew a walk in his at-bat, hitting in place of starter Jeff Locke. Marte was unavailable in Saturday's 3-2 extra-inning victory against Colorado, and manager Clint Hurdle wasn't sure of his Sunday status until a few hours before the game.

General manager Neal Huntington noted the team was going through "concussion protocol" with Marte.

"He's making great progress, but it is a gray area," Huntington said prior to Sunday's series finale. "He may wake up two days from now and have regressed, or he may wake up two days from now and feel ready to go."

Marte initially stayed in the game Friday after being evaluated by trainers on the field, but was eventually replaced defensively in the ninth inning. In his third Major League season, Marte is hitting .258 with 26 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases in 85 games.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for
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