Marte improving, nearing return to Bucs lineup

Stewart undergoes surgery, Schugel returns to Pittsburgh

Marte improving, nearing return to Bucs lineup

MILWAUKEE -- Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is nearing a full return, and catcher Chris Stewart underwent successful knee surgery to headline the list of Pittsburgh's injury updates on Wednesday.

Marte, who appeared in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Brewers as a pinch-hitter for the first time since Sept. 5, underwent a full pregame workout that cleared him to be available off the bench. If the results are positive, Marte could soon make his return to the starting lineup, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said. The Pirates outfielder struck out in his late appearance on Wednesday against Brewers reliever Brent Suter.

"Starling Marte is going through another full workout outside," Tomczyk said. "He was available to play off the bench [Tuesday], and if all goes well today, we anticipate he'll be playing in the near future."

Stewart underwent surgery on his left knee Tuesday in Florida and began his rehab process on Wednesday. He will be out six-to-eight weeks.

The procedure, called a chondroplasty, "addressed some meniscus changes and some cartilage changes."

"We have approximately seven months before the beginning of the 2017 championship season and Chris started day one of his rehab process today," Tomczyk said. "I know he's eager to get back with his teammates."

Other injury news:

• Reliever A.J. Schugel returned to Pittsburgh for a re-examination of his right shoulder. Schugel has not pitched since Aug. 30.

Prior to Tuesday's game, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he hoped to have Schugel available in the bullpen, but the right-hander experienced more problems while playing catch prior to the contest.

"The goal was for him to be available [Tuesday]," Tomczyk said. "He played catch on flat ground and did not respond well."

• Reliever Neftali Feliz (right arm) has been cleared to play catch on flat ground only. Feliz, who has not pitched since Sept. 3, received a second opinion from Dr. James Bradley back in Pittsburgh.

• Catcher Elias Diaz's leg infection that sidelined him for the season "is basically gone," Tomczyk said. Diaz is expected to be able to have a full, normal offseason.

• Outfielder Austin Meadows, the Pirates' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, still has not resumed baseball activities after suffering a strained oblique in the final game of the season at Triple-A Indianapolis. Meadows is in Bradenton, Fla., at the team's instructional league, but he will not play in the Arizona Fall League as planned.

"He has not resumed baseball activities yet, but we're trying to get him in the best possible position so he can have a normal offseason," Tomczyk said.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.