Clint Hurdle said pre-game that the Pirates have a tentative schedule for Starling Marte’s return to action, and that he has been doing some work with a bat, albeit one-handed work.
“Took one-hand swings in the cage yesterday with his good hand, getting better. Everything’s projected right now. He’s done all his cardio work, running work. To get the other hand on the bat, we’re hoping to do that maybe this weekend. Start with some dry swings, see where that takes us and then maybe, maybe if that goes well, sometimes towards the back-end of next week, get him out on a rehab. I mean, that’s speculation.”
It’s speculation, but it’s good speculation for the Pirates to get arguably the league’s best lead-off man back in the fold. If Marte is able to get out on a rehab stint near the end of next week (sometime in the range of Sept. 5-7), that could mean a return to the lineup shortly thereafter.
Marte was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 25, retroactive to Aug. 19, meaning he is eligible to come off on Sept. 3 but that seems unlikely at this point
There’s no question the Pirates are a different team with Marte at the top of the lineup and, while Jose Tabata has filled in admirably at the lead-off spot, Tabata would move back to the bench and make the Pirates a better defensive team overall.
Plus, in the middle of the race for the NL Central Division, it goes without saying that Marte’s return would be a massive boon to the Pirates’ hopes of winning the division if he is in play for the final three weeks or so of the season.