7/29/2014 10:27 P.M. ET
Pirates pleased with Cole's first rehab start
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gerrit Cole's pitching line in his rehab start Monday night for Triple-A Indianapolis was sharp: five shutout innings, three walks, seven strikeouts.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle's eyes and ears did not diminish the impression.
"I got a report from [Indianapolis pitching coach Tom] Filer, and watched videotape," said Hurdle, setting up a list of Cole's assets. "Firm velocity, threw both of his breaking balls [slider and curve], threw some changeups -- all four of his pitches. And threw the number  of pitches we wanted. A good first step back."
Step No. 2 will also occur with the Indians, this weekend, when the righty will target 100 pitches.
Unless the staff sees, or Cole feels, anything to warrant a change in the agenda, he next would make his return start during the Bucs' upcoming homestand.
Marte has first full workout in concussion recovery
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pirates won't be able to add one of the biggest possible boosts to their offense prior to Thursday afternoon's non-waiver Trade Deadline -- although that is merely a coincidental observation.
Left fielder Starling Marte had his first on-field workout Tuesday, the day before he becomes eligible to come off the seven-day concussion list. There is a process for getting confidently activated from such an injury, a slow and deliberate one Marte has just begun.
Marte saw some game action -- even made a start -- after getting beaned by Colorado's Adam Ottavino on July 18, in the first game after the All-Star break. The club diverted him to the concussion list five days later.
"He just had his first full workout," manager Clint Hurdle said before Tuesday's game vs. the Giants. "He shagged balls, took [batting practice], ran the bases. We'll see how he functions through the evening and how he feels tomorrow. Today was a good day to build some momentum."
"I felt fine. More tomorrow," Marte said of his return to the field.
Between injuries and personal issues, Marte has had a trying second full season. He lost his leadoff job even before the arrival of Gregory Polanco and has struck out 95 times in 314 at-bats while batting .255.
First number, last word
142: Number of double-digit strikeout games by starting pitchers this season -- through Monday -- a record pace to which the Pirates have made a modest contribution. Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton have one each.
"He's making good progress. He did some agility running. Cones were involved. ... Any time cones are involved, I just walk away. Takes me back to my two-a-days in summer football." -- Hurdle, on Tuesday's workout by Clint Barmes -- at least the portion of it that he saw.
• The players on the Pirates' current roster had an aggregate of 123 at-bats prior to Tuesday's game against Tim Hudson, and the guy with the only home run off him was not in their lineup.
Pedro Alvarez's timeout continued, with Josh Harrison stationed at third base and Travis Snider in left.
"I tried to get a couple of hot bats in the lineup," Hurdle said, "and we continue to do everything we can to get [Alvarez] back in the form where he's very competitive, on both sides of the ball."
Harrison delivered a homer off Hudson in the first inning, Harrison's first career leadoff shot. Snider slugged a two-run shot in the second.
• Thanks to Andrew Susac, the Giants rookie who saw nine pitches in a pinch-hitting appearance before flying out with one out in the ninth, Vance Worley fell one pitch shy Monday of a rare complete game with under 100 pitches.
Worley hit 100 on the nose, 71 of them strikes.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.