Here’s a potential boost for the Pirates, who are currently locked into a tie with the Cardinals at the very top of the National League Central standings.
Starling Marte is a member of Pittsburgh’s starting lineup — batting leadoff and playing left field — on Tuesday evening against the Padres for the first time since suffering a severe hand contusion in an August 18 game versus Arizona. Marte was activated from the disabled list on September 7 but could only serve as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement initially due to lingering discomfort in his badly-bruised hand.
Marte was well on his way to an outstanding season for the Bucs before the injury and will carry a cool .282/.343/.443 batting line, 11 home runs, 10 triples, 36 stolen bases and 79 runs scored into his return to full-time action on Tuesday night.
Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.
If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.
Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.
Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.
In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.
Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.