Marte wants fans to be nicer
By John Mehno
For the Mirror
PITTSBURGH — Starling Marte was absent from the Pirates’ starting lineup on Tuesday, but that didn’t appear to be a continuation of Monday’s banishment for lack of effort.
The Pirates didn’t post a starting lineup until around 5 p.m. When it appeared, Adam Frazier was playing center field for the second consecutive game.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Marte had a doctor’s appointment.
Asked why Marte needed that appointment, Hurdle dismissed the question by saying, “I’m not a doctor.”
Marte was benched Monday night because Hurdle was dissatisfied with his effort in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
In an interview with the website The Athletic, Marte was critical of the fans who booed him on Sunday.
He told reporter Rob Biertempfel, “In situations like that, if you’re trying to motivate me to play harder, the best way to do that is with encouragement. Booing a player not only makes us look bad and feel bad, but it makes the fans look bad, too.
“It makes them look like non-baseball fans. I love our fans. I get their frustration. But at the same time if you’re trying to encourage us and motivate us, try to avoid booing us because that doesn’t lift us up.”
The Pirates brought righthanded pitcher Clay Holmes up from Class AAA Indianapolis.
They cleared a roster spot by sending outfielder Jordan Luplow to the minor leagues.
Holmes is up for the fifth time this season. In five appearances, three starts, he is 1-2 with a 7.20 earned run average and 2.067 WHIP.
Luplow has hit .174 with the Pirates this season.
Hurdle said the Pirates’ approach to the remaining games will depend on a variety of circumstances.
The Pirates are too far back in the division race to be considered a contender. They also trail in the wild card race and have too many teams to overcome.
“It depends on who we’re playing and what we’re playing for,” he said.
After throwing out just 20 percent of base stealers last season, Francisco Cervelli has doubled that total this year.
It’s part of an overall effort to control the running game.
“There was a lot of emphasis put on it over the winter,” Hurdle said. “Work was done in spring training. We’ve continued to implement it. Tone it up, shape it up throughout the season.
“So there’s been improvements across the board, individually with the pitchers. They’re doing a lot of work, different sequences on hold times, just a quicker release time. Vary their holds.
“With a runner at second base, look, check, don’t look, all those things. Plus our catchers have probably worked more than in the past. Cervelli with his footwork, (Elias) Diaz with his throwing and footwork. It’s all been kind of piggybacked together to show some real good improvement.”
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org