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Pregame: Starling Marte out of starting lineup, Pirates will not go with six-man rotation

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Notes and quotes from today's pregame:

-P- Starling Marte is out of the starting lineup following being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning of yesterday's game. The left fielder said his shoulder is still sore but feels significantly better than yesterday.

"I moved my shoulder today, so that's a good thing." Marte said. "Yesterday I couldn't do anything. I have big bruise there. ...Nothing broken, just a big bruise."

Clint Hurdle didn't know if Marte would be available off the bench for anything other than pinch running.

"His legs aren't hurt," Hurdle said. "Whether he can reach for a ball or swing a bat is still in question."

-P- Hurdle sounded uncomfortable about Tony Watson's recent workload, so the back end of the Pirates bullpen may be short-handed again tonight.

"Watson threw a ton of pitches [in Cincinnati]," Hurdle said. "I don't know if one day is going [to be enough]. I think [Mark] Melancon is fine. [Joakim] Soria's pitched two days in a row, he should be okay. ...I really don't know right now. I'll have Ray [Searage] go out there and check how they're feeling."

-P- Hurdle confirmed that A.J. Burnett is back in the starting rotation and will begin taking his regular turn.

"He was fully involved in the rotation unless there was complication before [yesterday]," Hurdle said.

-P- With Burnett's return the Pirates now have six starting pitchers. However, that will change soon, as Hurdle revealed that the club will not go with a six-man rotation the rest of the way. He would not say who would be dropped, although Jeff Locke seems the likely odd man out.

"I'll have that conversation with them [first]," Hurdle said. "We've got a doubleheader coming up, so it's not like it's anything imminent right now. We're going to need six pitchers another time through the rotation."

-P- Gerrit Cole will pitch the first game of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Cubs. J.A. Happ will start the nightcap.

-P- Josh Harrison will get the start in left field and bat second tonight. The Pirates have three other left-handed outfield options in Travis Ishikawa, Jaff Decker and Travis Snider, but Hurdle said that he wants to give Harrison some regular playing time in order to get him back up to speed.

"I'm trying to give him regular reps so he can be the best player he can be," Hurdle said. "The player that made the All-Star Game last year. The player that gives us a 'Go' button. The bat is usually the last thing to come into play after these guys go out."

-P- Although he wouldn't say that Burnett has returned to his first half form, Hurdle said that there was a lot to like about last night's start.

"I love the fact that he used all three pitches," Hurdle said. "I like the angle I saw from the fastball. It was a little flat and elevated in the first inning. After that inning the breaking ball came into play, the changeup came into play. ...It was fun to watch the last four innings. I thought he got sharper as he went on."