PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte continues to inch his way back toward returning to the Pirates' starting lineup.
The Pirates' left fielder and leadoff hitter took a step forward in his rehabilitation from a bruised right hand Thursday when he batted against rehabbing left-hander Wandy Rodriguez in a simulated game. It marked the first time Marte faced live pitching since being placed on the disabled list Aug. 19.
Marte also faced live pitching prior to Saturday's game with the Cubs when he faced lefty Kris Johnson.
"I think it went well. Marte got six at-bats and bunted a couple of times," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think what we are trying to get him to understand is that he's not going to be pain-free. There's not going to be a pain-free day from this point on when you go up there and you're going to try and hit. So, understanding the tolerance of the pain, it doesn't happen every swing and it doesn't happen more when it's a miss or a hit. It all depends, is what we found out today.
"He took those swings, and we'll run him back out for the regular batting practice and I'll talk to him again and we'll see where that takes us. He could be ready to get in some real game at-bats. We might need another day. I'll know later this afternoon."
Marte continues to feel discomfort, although he said, "It's much better."
"He's aware of the pain," Hurdle said. "I just made sure that he understands it's not going to go away. If we want to wait for it to go away, we're probably talking 2014.
"There's a lot of guys in September that have different things that are probably nagging them a little bit. He's got one. We'll see where he can take it, and I think you've got to give him the opportunity to get some at-bats when and if you do get him in there, and see how they play out."
Marte has been an integral part of the Pirates' offense this season, hitting .282 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs and 36 stolen bases in 123 games.
Still in pain, Wandy shut down by Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who has missed more than three months with left forearm tightness and arthritis of the left elbow, is going to be shut down for the rest of the season.
It was thought that Rodriguez took a step toward returning from the disabled list when he pitched a simulated game on Thursday. But he was still pitching with discomfort, which prompted the decision to shut him down.
"We had Wandy in here with GM Neal Huntington, myself, trainer Todd Tomczyk and [Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator] Kiyoshi Momose just to make sure we didn't lose anything in translation," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was a hard meeting, and we're going to shut Wandy down for his benefit and for our benefit. He's put so much into this, he's worked so very hard to try and get into a position to pitch again, because of the want to help the team, but he continues to pitch with pain and discomfort, and we're going to turn our focus to 2014 and let him heal."
"I don't feel a hundred percent and pain-free," Rodriguez said. "I don't think I can go out there and give my best to the team."
The Pirates consulted with noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
"Dr. Andrews recommended a cortisone injection," Rodriguez explained. "But it was up to me and it was my decision. I won't take the injection because cortisone is only to kill the pain, but not heal the injury."
Rodriguez was asked about his options for treatment.
"I'm going to try the platelet-rich plasma injection," Rodriguez said. "I'll see how that goes."
Rodriguez already received a platelet-rich plasma injection on July 1.
In 12 starts for the Pirates this season, Rodriguez posted a 6-4 record with a 3.59 ERA.
The 34-year-old can become a free agent at the end of the season, but he also holds a $13 million player option to return in 2014.
Pirates to keep giving Grilli chances to find form
PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Jason Grilli's rough return from the disabled list continued Friday night as he gave up Anthony Rizzo's game-winning two-run home run in the seventh inning of the Pirates' 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
The Pirates will continue to try and get Grilli back on track.
"He's human," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Grilli. "He is a veteran and it's the first turbulence he's had this year, so you weigh that in and talk to him like a man. Sometimes a how-to and a want-to don't match up. He's helped put us in the position we're in and he wants to get back to that spot, and there's a process that we're going to need to work through to get there, and it's more pitches and at least a couple more innings to see the development continue, and obviously the stamina to finish 20 pitches strong rather than 12 or 15 strong.
"But I like the fact that we still have the opportunity to get him back the way he was, because we're much better with him."
• In 70 career games against Chicago, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .340 (82-for-241) with 17 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 36 RBIs, 44 walks and 21 stolen bases. He has reached base safely in 64 of those 70 games and has scored 47 runs.
• The Pirates established a PNC Park record with 46 wins at home this season, eclipsing the 45-36 record from 2012.
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.