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Martin progressing, inching closer to return

NEW YORK -- Catcher Russell Martin appears to be one day closer to returning to the Pirates after a successful training session when he ran at full speed and did not feel any tightness in his left hamstring. Martin also faced live pitching on Saturday and has participated in two bullpen sessions.

"I felt like I've been approaching it as carefully and as intelligently as I can," Martin said. "I'm trying to stay out of my own way as far as being over-aggressive, which is what I tend to do."

Martin sustained his injury on April 25 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He plans on going through another workout on Sunday. If his leg continues to feel well, Martin could return to the Pirates next week. For now, manager Clint Hurdle wants to see Martin go through more catching drills.

"He had his most aggressive day running," Hurdle said. "We'll see how he feels after that and whether we pick up the pace on the catching portion of it."

Closer Jason Grilli, who is recovering from a strained left oblique, pitched one inning of a simulated bullpen session Saturday. He faced three batters, one left-hander and two right-handers, and threw 20 pitches. Grilli pitched two innings in a simulated game Wednesday.

Hurdle was not exactly sure what will be the next step for Grilli as he prepares to make his return. Hurdle did however like what he saw from Grilli.

"He had a very good day," Hurdle said. "He followed the glove very well. I thought the breaking ball shaped better than last time out. I thought it was a very good step forward for him."

Nate Taylor is a contributor to
Read More: Pittsburgh Pirates, Jason Grilli, Russell Martin