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Pirates notebook: Alen Hanson placed on waivers; Gift Ngoepe optioned to Indy |

Pirates notebook: Alen Hanson placed on waivers; Gift Ngoepe optioned to Indy

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates second baseman Alen Hanson strikes out with a runner on third base during the seventh inning against the Cubs Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte singles during the fourth inning against the Braves Sunday, April 9, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Gregory Polanco delivers a pinch-hit RBI single during the fifth inning against the Diamondbacks Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at PNC Park.

The Pirates on Wednesday put infielder Alen Hanson on waivers and optioned Gift Ngoepe to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to multiple sources.

The team is expected to announce the moves Friday before the first game of a three-game road series against the New York Mets.

There was no immediate indication from the club about who might be added to the active roster. One candidate is infielder Max Moroff, who was scratched from Indy’s lineup Wednesday.

Hanson, 24, played in 36 games and batted .193 with a .483 OPS. Two of his 11 hits were triples, and he went 2 for 3 in steal attempts.

Ngoepe, 27, played in 27 games and hit .222 with a .619 OPS.

Marte in motion

Starling Marte passed the midway point of his 80-game suspension for steroid use and continues to work out at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.

“We get daily reports,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I speak with him personally, so I don’t listen to the reports as much.

“He’s showing up well. He’s pouring into the drill work and the game work. He’s following the directives from the training staff. He seems to be making some progress.”

Marte tested positive for nandrolone and was suspended April 19. He did not appeal the penalty, according to commissioner Rob Manfred.

Marte will be eligible to rejoin the Pirates in mid-July.

During his suspension, Marte can work out at the spring training complex or at the team academy in the Dominican Republic. He has appeared in extended spring training games, but cannot play in any official minor league game until the final 15 days of his suspension.

“There was (extended spring) game activity for a while, then we shut that down,” Hurdle said. “There is a time when there is a lull (after extended spring ends), and we’ll have to create games for him.”

Planet of the aches

Gregory Polanco, who sprained right ankle Monday, returned to action Wednesday as a pinch-hitter. Polanco hit an RBI single and lumbered to first base, then was replaced by pinch-runner Tyler Glasnow.

“I feel way better,” Polanco said. “I don’t want to be (on the DL) anymore. I got treatment all day yesterday. After the game, I went home and got more treatment.”

Jameson Taillon will make his second rehab start Friday with Triple-A Indianapolis. Taillon threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Tuesday.

“Taillon’s miraculous and quick return to the mound will inspire our team, our staff and our fans in many ways on Friday night,” Indy manager Andy Barkett said in a prepared statement. “We can’t wait to see him take the field.”

Chris Stewart got a platelet-rich plasma injection after an MRI exam confirmed his left hamstring strain. He will be re-evaluated Friday.

“Wtih Chris being in such good shape as he is for a 34-year-old man, I’d like to see him beat the odds and have this be a mild hamstring strain,” head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be limited to the minimal time down.”

Relievers Josh Lindblom (left side discomfort) and Antonio Bastardo (left quad strain) were slated to work an inning (20 pitches max) apiece Wednesday with Indy.

Tomczyk said pitcher Mitch Keller is feeling better after getting treatment for lower back tightness, but it not yet game-ready. “He’s a little ways away from that,” Tomcyzk said.

Keller, 21, is 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA after eight starts for High-A Bradenton.

Time change

ESPN picked up the June 25 game against the St. Louis Cardinals for its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. The game will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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