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Pregame: Jeff Banister reportedly contacted by Astros

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

-P- Ken Rosenthal tweets that Jeff Banister has been contacted by the Astros for their vacant managerial position. Banister has been with the Pirates organization for 29 years and has served as the bench coach since August of 2010.

-P- Russell Martin is not in the starting lineup after apparently reaggravating his hamstring injury last night in the seventh inning. Today, Clint Hurdle described Martin as day-to-day.

"He's got in stretches where it's been more than manageable, it's been good," Hurdle said. "There's been situations where he can aggravate it, then it can become challenging. Give him today off and see where we stand tomorrow, whether we're in tomorrow or out tomorrow, on playing him. We'll figure it out. Today he is definitely out."

-P- Hurdle said that there is no change to the Pirates rotations plans. "Not as of today," he responded, when asked about possible adjustments.

-P- Jenifer Langosch reports that Reds manager Bryan Price reached out to Mike Matheny to explain why Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman and Billy Hamilton were held out of the lineup yesterday.

In order to make sure there wasn't any suspicion about the Reds pulling back their regulars to make it easier on the Pirates, manager Bryan Price reached out to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to explain the individual situations of his players.

The message was relayed through the directors of both team's media relations staff.

"That was a professional move and I'd hope I'd do the same thing," Matheny said. "They have to take care of their guys and do what they have to do."

"I've had to make a few calls myself at times," Hurdle said of the communication between the two managers. "I understand. You do what's right professionally. There are some people that you do want to make sure you do have that communication with. ... It goes back to doing the right thing. There is nobody better to hear from than the manager to understand why guys are in play or out of play."

-P- Entering today's game, Josh Harrison (.318) trailed Justin Morneau (.319) in the batting title chase. In an age in which batting average has been devalued as an offensive statistic by analysts, Hurdle said that the significance of the award has not lost its luster amongst players.

"With anybody that plays the game it does [have great significance]," Hurdle said. "It's tremendously difficult. So, anybody that puts spikes in the ground has a tremendous appreciation for it."

Hurdle went on to highlight another achievement that he thinks is one of the most impressive, yet rarely talked about any longer.

"The one benchmark that hasn't gone away [but I'm never asked about], is the 200-hit barrier," Hurdle said. "Never talked about, never brought up. One of the hardest things to do in baseball. Count the number of men at the end of the year that get 200 hits. You might end up counting them on one finger."

Jose Altuve already has 223 hits this season. Michael Brantley is one hit shy of the benchmark. The last Pirates player to reach 200 hits was Freddy Sanchez (200 hits) in 2006.