4/26/2014 3:35 P.M. ET
Ailing Martin returns to Pittsburgh for tests
By Tom Singer and Cash Kruth / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- The left side of his lower body laced with pain, Pirates catcher Russell Martin has returned to Pittsburgh for tests including an MRI to try to determine the cause of the discomfort that forced his Saturday placement on the disabled list.
The formal cause of Martin's disablement was described as a strained left hamstring, but manager Clint Hurdle said there is a little more to the injury.
Following his mid-game removal on Friday night, Martin complained of pain in the hip area.
"Everyone wanted to talk about the hamstring," Hurdle said, "but in the [dugout] tunnel, he kept talking about his hip. Could the hamstring have led to the hip? Whatever … that's why he's going back for further testing, to try to actually pinpoint whether the hamstring is causing the connection to the hip pain."
Concern first arose about the veteran catcher when he slid across the plate to score the winning run in the Pirates' walk-off win over the Reds on Monday, was slow to rise, then spent several minutes sitting disconsolately in the dugout. Martin sat out games Wednesday and Thursday, but was back in the lineup for Friday night's game here.
After being visibly impaired, he was removed following his at-bat in the top of the sixth. Tony Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and moves in as the primary catcher, with Chris Stewart now serving as his backup.
"It's about the welfare of the player," said Hurdle, who had obviously been facing a daily dilemma about Martin's availability. "To give him and the training staff every opportunity to work through what he needs to get back on the field productively.
"We all realized last night a couple days [of rest] were not enough. The next step was to just shut him down … so the closure from that is good for everybody. Now we can focus on his rehab. He knows this is his best opportunity to get well."
This marks only the second time the nine-year veteran has gone on the disabled list. He missed the final two months of the 2010 season with a torn labrum in his right hip.
Pirates place Martin, Grilli on disabled list
The Pirates placed catcher Russell Martin (left hamstring) and right-hander Jason Grilli (left oblique) on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.
Right-hander Jared Hughes and catcher Tony Sanchez were recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace them.
Martin missed two games before playing Friday, only to leave after 5 1/2 innings with pain in the hip area.
Grilli was originally placed on the DL on Friday with a left oblique strain, but the move was rescinded because of a procedural error.
This is the second time Sanchez and Hughes have been with the Pirates this season. Sanchez made the Opening Day roster, while Hughes was with the Bucs earlier this week.
First number, last word
14: Saves by Mark Melancon, during his two months last season as Grilli's replacement at closer; Melancon blew four other opportunities, including his last three.
"Looked nice. Black suit, black tie. First class. He's here. He's ready for the Johnny Cash role." -- Hurdle, in response to what he expects from Sanchez's return from a one-week Triple-A hiatus.
• Gerrit Cole's career record as a stopper -- in games following a Pirates loss -- dropped to 7-3 with Friday night's 1-0 loss to the Cardinals.
• Prior to Saturday's game, the Cardinals were 10-0 when scoring at least four runs. The Bucs have had a few more down days on the pitching side, going 7-3 when putting four-plus runs on the board.
• A week ago, Yankees reliever Cesar Cabral faced four Tampa Bay Rays, did not retire any of them and hit three of them with pitches. The only other big league pitcher to do that in the last century? The Pirates' Dock Ellis, who on May 1, 1974 started against the Reds and hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen before walking Tony Perez to force in a run then taking a walk himself, replaced by John Morlan.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.