SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pirates will use another off-day to ease up rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole's pitching load. Cole will have his next turn, which normally would have been Tuesday in the homestand opener against Milwaukee, delayed two days until the finale of that series with the Brewers.
"That will give him the same seven days between starts he had last time," manager Clint Hurdle said.
As a result, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton will go in the first two games against the Brewers in PNC Park. The juggled rotation lines up aces Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett to start Friday and Saturday in the first two of a weekend series with the Cardinals.
Cole faced the Padres on Wednesday in his first start on this eighth day schedule. He did not get a victory but did tender a strong six-inning effort, allowing two runs and striking out five without a walk.
A month short of the end of his second professional season, the overall No. 1 selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft has logged a total of 146 innings, including 78 with the Pirates since his June 11 recall from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Marte placed on 15-day DL; Lambo recalled
Outfielder Starling Marte appeared to be on the cusp of returning to the Pirates' lineup. Instead, the club placed him on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, retroactive to Monday.
Marte, who has been battling a right hand contusion, also suffered a sprain of the fourth MCP ligament on the hand.
"This is all part of the original injury. There have been no new complications," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We'll have more information when we get home and he's seen by our doctors."
To take Marte's place on the active roster, the Pirates recalled outfielder Andrew Lambo from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Although Marte won't be eligible for activation until Sept. 4 and postseason rosters are frozen on Aug. 31, as a player on the DL at the cutoff date, he will remain eligible for the playoffs.
On Thursday, Hurdle indicated that Marte was close to returning to the starting lineup and said the 24-year-old was available to pinch-run or play defense. Now, Marte -- who is batting .282 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 33 RBIs and 35 stolen bases -- will be sidelined until at least the first week of September.
Lambo has appeared in four games with the Pirates this season. He has tallied one hit -- a double -- in nine at-bats.
First number, last word
26: Runners thrown out attempting to steal by Pirates catcher Russell Martin, the most in the Majors. In 2012, Buccos catchers combined to throw out 14 runners.
"You aren't going to get a much more challenging opportunity than to be involved in a pennant race in August. He's got the opportunity to play meaningful games in front of big crowds down the stretch -- that's a very good environment." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on rookie outfielder Andrew Lambo, thrown into the NL Central race with Starling Marte landing on the DL with a hand injury.
• The Bucs took a road record of 34-30 into Saturday night's game with the Giants -- equaling their final total of road victories in 2012. In 2010, the season prior to Clint Hurdle's takeover as manager, the Pirates won 17 road games.
• The Pirates have faced the fewest left-handed starters (25) in the Majors and have gone 13-12 in those games.
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. Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.