Pirates Recall Locke, Hughes, Lambo, Sanchez; Activate Grilli

Jason Grilli has been activated from the disabled list. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Jason Grilli has been activated from the disabled list. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pittsburgh Pirates made the expected moves to recall Jeff Locke, Jared Hughes, Andrew Lambo, and Tony Sanchez from Altoona today. They also activated Jason Grilli from the disabled list, which was a bit unexpected since there was talk that he could make one more rehab appearance. All five players will be active for tonight’s game.

The Pirates optioned Locke, Hughes, Lambo, and Sanchez to Altoona instead of Indianapolis so that they could be called up before their ten days in the minors was up. Normally a player would have to spend ten days on optional assignment before getting called up. However, Altoona’s season ended last night, allowing the Pirates to call those players up without waiting the full ten days.

Locke should rejoin the rotation, and it would be a smart move to put him in the rotation tomorrow, pushing Francisco Liriano back a game to face the Cardinals. Lambo and Sanchez will both be bats off the bench. With John Buck on the roster, Sanchez is free for pinch hitting duties. It might be hard to find playing time for Lambo after the additions of Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau, especially with Jose Tabata playing so well and Garrett Jones needing playing time. Hughes will obviously help out in the bullpen.

The bullpen just got a lot stronger with the return of Grilli. The closer made a rehab appearance in Altoona on Monday, which Jake Oswalt recapped here. He was expected to make one more rehab appearance with Indianapolis on Wednesday, but came back early. There was talk that Grilli might not jump back into the closer role right away, but the Pirates have that luxury. Mark Melancon can handle the ninth inning with Grilli pitching in the eighth, although if you’re a fan of your best reliever pitching in higher leverage situations, you might want to keep Grilli locked in the ninth, and move Melancon up for those higher leverage spots, since you could argue Melancon is better. The Pirates have also been getting a great performance out of Tony Watson in the second half, so they’re now set up for a strong 7th-9th inning with the return of Grilli.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.smalley.35 Andrew Smalley

    Not a huge deal, but why does Jones *need* playing time? The guy barely has an OPS over .700, as well as a pretty anemic OBP and well-below avg power for a 1B/corner OF. Plus, his defense is horrendous and not likely to improve given his age.

    All of that is a long way of sayin that while Jones may be a decent option off the bench, he doesn’t *need* playing time, let alone has he done anything to *deserve* playing time. At this point, a pretty credible argument could be made that The unknown of Lambo (and the consistency/average play of Tabata) is much more likely to produce than Jones.

  • Andrew

    Hopefully this means less Bryan Morris in high leverage situations, margins matter.

  • rsborelli

    Hopefully Grilli can work his way back to being the guy he was pre-injury. If so, this really sets the Pirates up well in the pen again! Though Melancon handled the closer role without a misstep, it pressed a couple other guys into roles they may not have been ready for. As long as one guy handles the 9th, doesn’t much matter who it is (of the two versions of the guys we have seen this year, I will take Grilli in the 9th due to the Ks being more in play for him). The big thing is it will give the Pirates back their lights out 8th and 9th tandem. With the way Morton has been pitching (Yes, Locke put up great numbers in the first half, but he struggled to get deep into games), joining Liriano and Burnett, that makes it very tough on opposing offenses in the postseason!

  • CalipariFan506

    Ya Hurdle made mention of Gomez being moved to more late inning situations. That with the return of Grilli means Morris will not have much of an impact it appears.

    Also I agree with starting Locke tomorrow.

  • PirateTom

    Off topic but any word on anything that might be going on with Mercer? Noticed he’s out of the lineup again and it seems like we haven’t seen him in awhile.

    • swampirate

      I recall Hurdle mention that he would go with the hot hand between Mercer and Barmes. It seems Barmes has been producing somewhat and my assumption is that Hurdle trusts his DEFense more than Mercer’s.