Feliz feels better after early exit on Saturday

Marte makes successful Major League debut against Brewers

Feliz feels better after early exit on Saturday

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates setup man Neftali Feliz was feeling better Sunday after leaving Saturday night's loss to the Brewers due to right arm discomfort.

The club provided few details regarding Feliz's condition, but Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said the right-hander's injury is related to a muscle, not a ligament.

Feliz walked off the mound and exited Saturday's game after throwing a pitch to Kirk Nieuwenhuis and bending over behind the rubber, clearly in pain. Catcher Francisco Cervelli said he only noticed Feliz's body language change after that pitch, and manager Clint Hurdle said he was not aware of any lingering injury that might have hampered Feliz.

"Feels better today. Anytime a pitcher walks off the mound, it causes concern with everyone," Huntington said. "The best update I can give you right now … is it's more muscular than connective tissue. That's our read at this point. Medical is very gray. If the symptoms do present themselves differently, that'll be what happens. At this point, just trying to alleviate some of the major concerns."

Feliz did not take the field to stretch or play catch with the rest of Pittsburgh's pitching staff Sunday morning. While he is out, left-hander Felipe Rivero will likely take over his eighth-inning role. The Pirates could turn to lefty Antonio Bastardo or right-hander Juan Nicasio to help bridge the gap to Rivero and closer Tony Watson.

Feliz, 28, has enjoyed a bounceback season with the Bucs, putting together a 3.52 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings over 62 appearances.

Marte makes debut
Left-hander Kelvin Marte wondered last year if he would get the opportunity he received Saturday night. He was 27 years old and pitching for the Giants' Double-A Richmond affiliate, nine years into his professional career and seemingly nowhere near the Majors.

But Marte caught the Pirates' eyes in the Eastern League, where he went 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA. He signed with Pittsburgh last offseason and worked primarily out of the bullpen with Triple-A Indianapolis, going 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 34 appearances. He was called up earlier this week for the first time.

As the eighth inning unraveled for the Pirates in Saturday night's 7-4 loss, Marte ran in from the bullpen and toed the rubber on a Major League mound for the first time. He gave up a hit and a walk before striking out Ryan Braun. He got to keep the ball and Saturday's lineup card.

Marte's first MLB strikeout

"It just just a very special moment," Marte said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. "There was a moment last season where I felt I could have been here, but they didn't bring me up and that's fine. God knows the perfect time."

After the game, Marte heard from his wife, Jovelisse Lopez. She couldn't be in attendance for his long-awaited big league debut, but for good reason. She is pregnant with their second child, due in October, in Arizona.

"I spoke to her last night. She's super happy for me," Marte said. "She hasn't missed a game since I got called up. She's rooting for me."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.