Concussion sacks Marte

PITTSBURGH – On further review, Starling Marte is not ready to play.

The Pittsburgh Pirates placed Marte on the seven-day concussion disabled list before Wednesday’s homestand finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Infielder Brent Morel was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis to take his place on the roster.

Marte was struck in the helmet by a 93-mile per hour pitch in Friday’s game against Colorado. He sat out two starts, pinch hitting in one game, and returned to the starting lineup on Monday.

But he told the training staff he wasn’t feeling well on Tuesday and was re-evaluated.

“What you get one day, then two days later you get that bounce back,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s not that uncommon.”

Hurdle said the Pirates encourage the players to be forthright when it comes to head injuries.

“If there’s something where you’re cloudy or don’t feel right, we have to know to protect you,” he said.

Morel was the Pirates briefly earlier this season. He was hitting .246 at Indianapolis.

Another project

The Pirates have been in the habit of picking up pitchers who have fallen on hard times in the belief they can help them get back on track.

It worked last season with Francisco Liriano, who became the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year. They’ve gotten mostly positive results this season from another comeback candidate, Edinson Volquez.

They’re trying to turn around reliever Ernesto Frieri, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for Jason Grilli last month. Frieri, a former closer, fell on hard times this year with the Angels and is trying to regain his success.

Pitching coach Ray Searage and organization pitching coordinator Jim Benedict collaborate on these projects, studying video as well as offering hands-on instruction.

“I came here lost,” Frieri said. “They were little things that are huge in baseball. They are fixing them.”

Frieri entered Wednesday with six scoreless appearances in which he had not allowed a hit.

“You never stop learning in this game,” Frieri said.

Frieri said he got in trouble when he struggled with the Angels and started making changes to get better results. He made so many changes that he lost track of the style that had made him successful.

His arm angle went from the natural three-quarters delivery to a straight overhand style. With the Pirates, he’s been trying to piece things back together.

“I lost the life on my fastball and I lost my deception, too,” Frieri said. “They’re trying to get me back to the old Ernie, the pitcher I was in my first two years.”

Hurdle has been encouraged by what he’s seen.

“There have been four or five clean, crisp, much-improved outings,” Hurdle said. “The fastball has had better finish. I think we’re in the right lane with him. His confidence has improved.”

Alvarez sits

Pedro Alvarez was out of Wednesday’s lineup because of discomfort in his left knee, an injury that forced him out of Tuesday’s game.

Alvarez told the staff that he felt something abnormal as he broke out of the box after hitting what turned out to be a double.

Cole throws

Gerrit Cole pitched a simulated game Wednesday afternoon, using his full repertoire in a 70-pitch outing.

Cole said he will definitely make a minor league rehab start before he comes off the disabled list.

He skipped the rehab start the last time he was on the disabled list and had a difficult time when he returned to the Pirates.

“If it takes a little longer, so be it,” he said. “We can’t be giving games away here.”