Marte gets breather to rest hand after plunking

Liriano set for return Tuesday; Bucs hoping to find trade partner for Morse

April 17th, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates held left fielder Starling Marte out of the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Brewers at PNC Park, playing it safe after Marte was hit by a pitch in Saturday's game.

Marte took a 91-mph fastball from Taylor Jungmann off the side of his right hand in the second inning of Pittsburgh's 5-0 win over Milwaukee on Saturday. He remained in the game and checked out fine afterward, but the Bucs waited to see how he felt Sunday morning before writing out a lineup.

In the end, they decided to take a cautious approach with Marte and started Matt Joyce in right field, batting cleanup in Marte's place. Gregory Polanco moved from right to left field.

"He gave it a great effort this morning. He just didn't feel right," general manager Neal Huntington said. "At this point in time, he wanted to play, but just wanted to make sure that we give him the necessary time with a day off [Monday]. He'll come back and hopefully be ready to go Tuesday."

Marte was able to enter the Pirates' 9-3 win in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in left field. He moved to center field in the ninth.

"He was good to go defensively," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Rotation set: As expected, left-hander Francisco Liriano will rejoin the Pirates' rotation Tuesday in San Diego after missing his last start due to right hamstring tightness. Liriano will be followed by left-hander Jeff Locke and right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who made a spot start Wednesday in Liriano's place, will move back to the bullpen.

Roster moves: Infielder Pedro Florimon, designated for assignment on Opening Day, accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis. Florimon is working at extended spring camp in Bradenton, Fla., before joining Indianapolis' roster. There, Florimon will serve as a utility player, bouncing around the field on the prospect-laden Triple-A club.

First baseman Michael Morse has yet to be claimed, traded or released. The Pirates designated him for assignment earlier this week and hope to find a trade partner for the veteran slugger.

"We're still hoping there's an opportunity for Mike," Huntington said. "[We're] anticipating we'll have to take back a significant amount of money, but there's still some thunder in the bat."

Master(son) plan: Veteran right-hander Justin Masterson, recently signed to a Minor League deal, will report to extended spring camp until he's ready to start in Triple-A.

The Pirates view Masterson as potential rotation depth. If he's pitching well and they don't have a starting job to offer him, they would consider adding him to their bullpen.

"He's just about ready to start competing, but not at the point where he's ready to pitch for a full-season club. Get him regular work and get him built up and see where we are," Huntington said. "When that power sinker is on, it's hard to elevate, hard for hitters to do much with. If we can get him back to that, he can come up here and help us.

"He felt like we were a great fit for him, and we felt like he was a good fit for us."