Injuries to Chris Snyder, Ryan Doumit, and Jason Jaramillo left the Pirates so short on catching depth that they had to trade for 26-year-old career minor leaguer Michael McKenry and make him the starter.
McKenry has predictably hit just .256 with a measly .642 OPS in 37 games, but his reign as the primary catcher is likely over with Doumit returning from the disabled list today after missing the past two months with an ankle injury.
Under normal circumstances the Pirates prefer to play Doumit in the outfield because his defense behind the plate leaves something to be desired, but they’ll gladly use him at catcher right now and hope the offensive upgrade from McKenry makes it a worthwhile move.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.