Don Mattingly is the manager of Confiturembourg

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For reasons of personal and family history I’ve probably seen The Nutcracker a billion times, give or take. And now my daughter Mookie is a ballet dancer and she’s been in The Nutcracker for a couple of years in a row. It’s never gonna end. I could probably give a go to half of the parts in that thing and, even though I can’t dance, I could at least be in the right place at the right time because I know it so well. For better or for worse.

As a result of all of that, I have seen — and been generally uncomfortable with — the Mother Ginger bit in a good dozen permutations. I’ve never cared for it because almost all of those permutations involve a bunch of kids coming out from under a giant dress, typically worn by a dude in drag. Maybe I have issues, but it always comes off kind of creepy.

But Don Mattingly does a fine job with it.

Still a couple months until spring training, guys. So sorry, you’re gonna see a lot of this kind of thing around here.

Pirates activate Starling Marte

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.

Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.

In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.