Pirates outfielder Starling Marte throws with his right hand, but if you tuned in for the top of the fourth inning this afternoon as the Pirates battled the Nationals, you never would have known it. Leading off the inning, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman laced a line drive down the left field line. It took an unexpected carom off the wall in the corner and Marte had to chase the ball as it rolled towards left-center.
In the chaos, it was easy to miss, but MASN broadcaster F.P. Santangelo questioned if Marte’s glove was on the wrong hand. Replays showed that Marte was carrying his glove in his right hand — his throwing hand.
(Hat tip to @CrashburnAlley on the .gif. That guy is cool.)
It should be noted that Marte is otherwise having a great season. He hit his fourth homer on the year this afternoon off of Stephen Strasburg and entered the afternoon with a .328/.391/.491 line.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.