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Marte benched for lack of hustle, awareness

August 20, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle benched outfielder Starling Marte for Monday's series opener with the Braves at PNC Park due to Marte's lack of effort in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Cubs."It's a decision that our manager made, and I respect it," Marte said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. "I

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle benched outfielder Starling Marte for Monday's series opener with the Braves at PNC Park due to Marte's lack of effort in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Cubs.
"It's a decision that our manager made, and I respect it," Marte said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. "I don't have a say-so over that, and I'm just going to submit to it."
Hurdle said the decision was not related to anything Marte is dealing with physically. In the third inning of Sunday's game, Marte put a ball in play and appeared to stumble out of the batter's box. He proceed to run slowly down the first-base line and was thrown out.
"As you saw, early in the game, he slipped and fell," Hurdle said. "He got up, and I just talked about the effort to finish the play. I thought there could've been better effort just to finish the play. ... He's got a gift, and a skill -- speed. It's going to show up every day, and it can beat you so many different ways. Use it. Utilize it."
Hurdle said he believes the team is "well aware" of the consequences that can come from not showing effort. He said that many of Marte's teammates both encouraged and challenged him when he got back into the dugout.
"[I] completely understand the manager's point of view and all of that," Marte said. "But in that moment, [my] mentality was more of, 'Man, sometimes when you slip and you try to force it, you can pull an injury.' And I'm just trying to be safe right now, trying to be healthy for the rest of the season. So I didn't want to risk it."
Marte made a baserunning gaffe later in the game. Standing on third with no outs in the sixth inning, he moved on contact off the bat of David Freese, who hit a ground ball right at first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo threw home to catcher Willson Contreras, who tagged Marte out before he made a sprint in either direction.

"Being told not to go on an infield-in situation," Hurdle said. "For whatever reason, you wander off the base and then you get stuck, and there's not an effort to get out of it. That's disappointing as well."
Brault recalled from Triple-A
The Pirates shuffled their bullpen arms on Monday, recalling left-hander Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioning left-hander Player Page for Buddy Boshers to Triple-A.
Brault, who was optioned on Aug. 3, struggled with his command prior to being sent down. His last appearance came against the Cubs on Aug. 1, when the southpaw walked five, struck out one and allowed a pair of runs over three innings.

Brault has made 17 appearances with the Major League club since the start of June, issuing 26 walks to counter 24 strikeouts while posting a 5.65 ERA over 28 2/3 innings. In five appearances with Indianapolis in August, he issued four walks and compiled seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
"[His command] improved while he was there," Hurdle said. "Consistency of work helped. I think he was able to reignite and come up with a consistent delivery plan. Repeating his delivery, holding his back side better, finishing pitches."
Boshers was recalled from Indianapolis on Aug. 11 and did not appear in a game during his stint.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.