Starling Marte to begin rehab assignment tonight

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Pirates rookie Starling Marte will begin a minor-league rehab assignment tonight at Single-A and is scheduled to play at Triple-A tomorrow.

No timetable has been established beyond that, but barring a setback in his recovery from a strained oblique muscle the 23-year-old outfielder could be cleared to rejoin the Pirates’ lineup by the end of the week.

Marte made his MLB debut on July 26 and has hit .253 with four homers and a .421 slugging percentage in 23 games, but that comes with an ugly 24/3 K/BB ratio and .287 on-base percentage that have made him a poor fit as a leadoff man.

Jose Tabata has been the primary fill-in for Marte in left field, so it’ll be interesting to see if he goes right back to the bench or manager Clint Hurdle tries to keep them both in the mix for at-bats.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.