Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Starling Marte was been removed from tonight’s Altoona Curve game in the fifth inning for pinch hitter Brad Chalk. Naturally, at this time of the year, when a player is removed, people start thinking “trade”. Marte was hit with a pitch to lead off the game, although he stuck around until the fifth, so his removal doesn’t seem to be injury related. He got a single in the third, and the only out he recorded was in the second. The 4th inning consistent of two ground outs and a strikeout, so there wasn’t a ball hit to Marte before he was pulled.
Jenifer Langosch reports that she has heard the move isn’t injury or trade related. That leaves open two possibilities: disciplinary or a promotion. It doesn’t seem like it would be disciplinary, since there was no possible reason for discipline prior to him being pulled (he didn’t bat for two innings, and didn’t see a ball hit his way since the 2nd). Honestly it could mean a number of things. We all think trade, but it could be a promotion to AAA. Those usually happen after a game, and the only way I see it happening mid-game is if someone else gets traded at the upper level. But that’s only speculating about the many possibilities that could exist.
Cory Giger had the following tweet also mentioning that it wasn’t a trade or injury:
OK, just heard from Curve manager P.J. Forbes on Starling Marte: “No hurt, not traded. Teaching moment for him and the ballclub.”
Not sure what that means. I don’t think anyone in the organization is going to announce anything until it’s official. I wouldn’t rule out anything until we hear some sort of announcement, or until we see Marte back in the lineup tomorrow. I’ll keep this updated if any more news emerges.
UPDATE: Cory Giger adds that the decision to pull Marte was Forbes’, and that Pirates’ farm director Kyle Stark even sent Forbes a text, wondering if Marte was hurt. Doesn’t seem like a trade at this point.