Polanco (shoulder) scratched; Marte (quad) sore

Polanco (shoulder) scratched; Marte (quad) sore

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates' outfield is a little dinged up heading into the final week of Spring Training.

Right fielder Gregory Polanco was scratched from Saturday night's starting lineup due to discomfort in his right shoulder, and left fielder Starling Marte left the 3-1 loss to the Rays at McKechnie Field after three innings with right quadriceps tightness.

"We've got to get guys ready for the season," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I don't anticipate anybody that we've unplugged is going to be unplugged for a significant amount of time based on the information I've gotten."

Polanco was set to bat sixth and play right field behind left-hander Francisco Liriano as the Pirates sent out their projected Opening Day lineup. Instead, Minor League callup Elvis Escobar started in right field and batted eighth.

The team classified Polanco's status as day to day, and Polanco himself said he was only "a little sore."

"It's nothing bad. I want to be ready for Opening Day," Polanco said. "If I had to play, I'd play."

Polanco said he aggravated a three-year-old injury Friday night, one he sustained sliding into a base while playing in the Minor Leagues. He is penciled into Sunday's starting lineup.

Marte lost his footing when he stumbled out of the batter's box in the first inning, remained in the game and felt his leg tighten up as the night went on.

"If there's any area of concern, we'll get them out, see what he can do tomorrow and see where we can go from there," Hurdle said.

The Pirates have tried to field regular-season-ready lineups two nights in a row, only to be thrown off by minor maladies. Hurdle planned to start the Bucs' projected lineup against Red Sox left-hander David Price on Friday night at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., but Andrew McCutchen (left quadriceps) was scratched as a precaution.

McCutchen was back in the lineup Saturday night, batting second and playing center field alongside the rest of the Pirates' expected Opening Day lineup.

Other notes from Saturday:

Change of plans: Originally scheduled to start Sunday night against the Orioles, Pirates right-hander Juan Nicasio will now pitch in an afternoon game at the club's Pirate City training complex.

Nicasio, competing for a spot in the rotation, is expected to throw at least 100 pitches. Prospect Trevor Williams will start in Nicasio's place at McKechnie Field.

New hire: The Pirates hired Mike Gonzalez as their new special assistant to the general manager, cultural initiatives. In that role, Gonzalez will serve as the club's MLB-mandated translator for Spanish-speaking players who need help communicating with the media and others.

Gonzalez was born in Puerto Rico, making him a natural fan of Pirates icon Roberto Clemente, and he grew up in Tampa, Fla.

Quote of the day: Asked how David Freese's timing at the plate has come along following a late start to his Spring Training, Hurdle smiled.

"Because he hit a home run," Hurdle said, "his timing's just perfect right now."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.