Bucs rookie Marte a work in progress

Starling Marte

Starling Marte broke into the Major Leagues with a bang. The Pirates outfielder homered on July 26 to deep left-center field in Houston on the first swing of his major league career.

Since then it has been a mixed bag for the 24 year old outfielder. He is currently batting .253 with five home runs and 17 RBI, he has also swiped 10 bases.

Marte went on the 15 day DL on August 19 with an oblique injury. Out for 19 days he was reinstated on September 7. He struggled a bit after coming back from the injury.

"It feels much better now," Marte reported. "My timing is better and I'm seeing the ball better. I'm not rushing my at bats. I'm just going to keep working hard to keep the stroke the way it is right now."

In six games in July Marte hit .259 with one home run and three RBI. In August in 17 games before he was injured, Marte batted .250 with three home runs and seven RBI. After coming off the DL, Marte hit .237 in 21 game in September with no home runs and six RBI. He has struck out 47 times in 158 plate appearances.

"I knew coming up that they were going to make some adjustments against me," Marte said. "I also was aware that I had to make adjustments and I did. It's the game within the game. I believe in my ability and I knew I had to do my best to help the club. I'm just going to have to continue to work hard and continue to make adjustments because the big league pitchers are pretty smart."

When Marte was called up in July the Pirates were still in a pennant race, but another monumental collapse has assured them of a 20th consecutive losing season. Still Marte took something out of being part of a playoff race.

"It was pretty exciting to be in a pennant race," Marte explained. "I'm very humble being on the team during the chase to make the playoffs and I'm proud to be here. I'm going to continue to play my game and help this club."

Marte showed flashes of his potential on October 1 in a 2-1 win over Atlanta. Marte tripled and homered, leading to both Pirates runs. At one point earlier in the season Marte tripled in the three straight games in September at Wrigley Field. Marte is the first rookie to have a triple in three consecutive games since his teammate Andrew McCutchen did it in 2009.

"I wasn't aware of the triples record," Marte said. "My job is to make contact and if the ball is in the gap anywhere I'm just going to run hard all the way until the coaches stop me. That's my goal, just run as hard as I can until somebody stops me."

Marte is still a work in progress according to Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle.

"There's a bunch of things we're working on with Starling," Hurdle said. "Baserunning -- leads and breaks. Barreling up the ball at bat. Bunting. I'd put all three at the top of the list."

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