Apr 10, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) celebrates after defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4 at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Activate Jason Grilli, Demote Tony Sanchez

The Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to get healthy and that could be a very good thing for Clint Hurdle‘s ballclub.

Apr 6, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) reacts after earning a save against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One day after the Bucs activated catcher Russell Martin from the 15-day disabled list, Friday they did the same with closer Jason Grilli on Friday.

Grilli has been out of action since April 21 rehabbing a left oblique strain.

He wasn’t great early in the season, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in eight innings. In that span Grilli had struck out only seven while walking four.

While he has saved four games on the season, Grilli has also blown three saves already, which is big considering he blew just two of 35 save opportunities all last season.

While Grilli is back on the active roster, it’s possible the Pirates will ease him back into the bullpen mix in a low-leverage role because of how well Mark Melancon has fared filling in at closer.

Melancon has eight saves with a 2.05 ERA and 15/5 K/BB ratio in 22 innings this season after making the All-Star team last year on the way to posting a 1.39 ERA in 71 innings.

However, Melancon has also blown two opportunities this year and has recorded saves on back-to-back nights, so if the Bucs are in a save situation Friday night against the Washington Nationals, Hurdle very well could call on Grilli.

To make move for Grilli on the active roster, the Pirates optioned catcher Tony Sanchez to Triple-A Indianapolis, which could be viewed as an unpopular move by some.

Sanchez was hitting .278 with a pair of homers and 12 RBI in 72 at bats and has come up with some timely clutch hits so far this season.

Tags: Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Pittsburgh Pirates Tony Sanchez

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