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By Zane Heiple

Photo by blog.syracuse.com

On Thursday the Pittsburgh Pirates signed veteran relief pitcher Jason Grilli.  In order for this move to be made they sent Pedro Ciriaco and Josh Harrison back to AAA Indianapolis.  The reason for two players to be sent down is so that either Ronny Cedeno or Steve Pearce can have a spot available when the Pirates start a three game set against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

The acquisition of Grilli should be looked at in one way and one way only, experience.  He is not a guy that’s going to be brought in during tight, late inning situations.  He will probably be used mainly as a matchup pitcher brought in to face right handed hitters.

He has not pitched in the Majors since 2009 and has spent all of the 2011 season pitching for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, which are the AAA team of the Philadelphia Philles.  While with the IronPigs, he would post a 1.93 ERA in 32.1 innings.  He missed all of the 2010 season with a knee injury.

Jason was drafted by the New York Yankees, but chose to play college baseball at Seton Hall.  He was then drafted in the 1997 draft in the fourth round by the San Francisco Giants.  Grilli would make his debut in the Majors during the 2000 season with the Florida Marlins.  After spending the 2002-03 seasons in the Minor Leagues, he would play the 2004 season with the Chicago White Sox.  The next three years Jason would play with the Detroit Tigers.  For parts of the next two years he would play under Clint Hurdle in Colorado before signing with the Texas Rangers after being designated for assignment.  Through 2009 Jason has an 18-18 record with a 4.74 ERA and has 262 strikeouts to his record in the big leagues.

Hopefully this was just a small ripple before the Pirates front office makes a splash with the trade deadline soon approaching.  Grilli does have a lot in common with some of the current Bucco bullpen seeing he has been on the DL at one point in his career.  This move, at least to me, is one the Hurdle wanted to make since he did coach Grilli for parts of two seasons with the Rockies.

Stay tuned to www.fansfromthestands.com for more moves to the Pittsburgh Pirates 25-man roster.