After the acquisitions of Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau you can make the case that the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup is as deep as any other team in the National League.
That deep lineup should become even deeper with the return of left fielder and leadoff hitter Starling Marte.
However that doesn’t look like it is going to happen anytime soon.
Marte, who was placed on the disabled list August 24 with a right hand contusion, is still nowhere close to being activated, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Brink reports that the 24-year-old “cannot let loose throwing” and has “yet to take swings two-handed” due to lingering pain in his right hand.
The initial injury was deemed not to be too serious as Marte was eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, yet it looks as if that Marte is still a couple of weeks away from returning to the Pirates’ lineup.
Jose Tabata has filled in admirably in Marte’s place, but the Bucs are much stronger with their primary leadoff hitter at full strength.
Marte was batting .282/.343/.443 with 11 home runs, 35 steals and 79 runs scored in 118 games this season and leads the majors with 10 triples.
In other injury news, starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to have a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday where he is scheduled to throw three innings or 50 pitches. If he experiences no pain, like in his latest bullpen session, he could be on track to help the Bucs the final week of the season and in the postseason.