Pirates Notebook: Grilli officially on 15-day DL, and Martin (hamstring), too

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ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates placed reliever Jason Grilli on the disabled list Saturday, for real this time, as part of some roster moves that stayed within league rules.

Grilli and catcher Russell Martin both went on the 15-day DL, Grilli due to a strained left oblique and Martin because of a strained left hamstring. The Pirates recalled right-handed reliever Jared Hughes and catcher Tony Sanchez from Class AAA Indianapolis to take their places.

The Pirates announced Friday that they had put Grilli, their 37-year-old closer, on the DL and recalled Hughes, but later rescinded the move because it violated Major League Baseball rules. Because the Pirates back-dated Grilli's DL stint to Monday, they couldn't recall Hughes, who was on the Pirates' active roster Monday as the corresponding move to Wandy Rodriguez's trip to the DL.

Saturday, they named Sanchez the corresponding move for Grilli, allowing them to back-date it, and recalled Hughes as the corresponding move for Martin.

Martin started the game Friday night after missing the previous two, but left the game in the sixth due to hamstring tightness. He moved slowly out of the batter's box in his final two at-bats and reached for his hamstring at one point after a checked swing.

"I think we all realized last night that a couple days off was not enough," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The next best step is going to be to shut him down."

During conversations in the tunnel behind the dugout Friday, Hurdle said, Martin said his hip hurt. Martin returned to Pittsburgh Saturday to undergo further tests, including a magnetic resonance imaging exam (MRI).

"I said, you need to see the guy and tell him what you're feeling, whatever it is," Hurdle said.

Martin, 31, has a .342 on-base percentage in 16 games and a .355 slugging percentage with two home runs. Hurdle immediately put Sanchez in the starting lineup Saturday. Sanchez has played more games in the majors than with Indianapolis and went 6 for 18 with a double in six games with the Pirates.

"Right now, the best opportunity for him to play and develop is right here," Hurdle said. "His skill set is such, the challenge is such. Things happen for a reason, I believe, on and off the field. I believe that this opportunity here, he's excited about it."

About the altered bullpen ...

Hurdle expressed confidence in the relievers who would assume the setup role with Mark Melancon serving as the closer during Grilli's absence. Tony Watson and Bryan Morris will work the late innings.

"I believe we're in real good shape," Hurdle said. "Watson, for me, can pitch the eighth inning against anybody, right- or left-handed. He's pitched the seventh inning against the meat of the order for a year and a half. Morris has got the stuff to do it, and I think [left-hander Justin] Wilson can give us a hand in there as well."

Watson, a left-hander, has struck out 14 batters and walked two in 10 1/3 innings. Morris has allowed two earned runs in 11 innings.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.

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