PITTSBURGH -- When the Pirates checked into the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field for Monday's start of a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, they were met by two fresh arms coming to the aid of their stellar but rundown bullpen.
Right-handers Jared Hughes and Ryan Reid were called up from Indianapolis.
To make room for them on the 25-man roster, Jeanmar Gomez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the forearm strain that forced his removal after one inning from Sunday's game and outfielder Alex Presley was optioned to the Triple-A Indians. Additionally, since Reid was not yet on the 40-man roster, that spot was created by placing Phil Irwin on the 60-day DL. Irwin had been on Indianapolis' disabled list, from which he had to be reinstated prior to the 60-day move.
Reid, a 28-year-old who was Tampa Bay's seventh-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, made his Major League debut in Monday night's 7-2 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. He worked 1 1/3 perfect innings after entering with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. Reid induced a groundout by Reed Johnson to end the threat, then retired the Braves on three straight grounders in the eighth.
Reid was having a remarkable Triple-A season, with an ERA of 0.52 in 20 games for the Indians, with 31 strikeouts and nine walks in 34 2/3 innings.
"Coming back, being healthy and having a full season last year allowed me to make the adjustments on the mound," Reid said before Monday's series opener against Atlanta. "It's not adjustments that I can necessarily do throwing a bullpen without a hitter, just getting innings and understanding what my strengths were and the development of the two-seam [fastball] to both sides of the plate, and release point and all that stuff, all came through time and adjustments."
"He's done everything they could ask him to do," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been the go-to guy in the bullpen, as far as fitting a need on that particular day. Same guy we saw in Spring Training as far as slow heartbeat, execution off the mound. This will be the next challenge for him, to do it at this level. He's earned the opportunity."
Hughes was an integral part of the 2012 bullpen, but was optioned to Indianapolis in early May to work on some things. In 11 games with the Indians, he allowed one run in 13 innings.
Hughes broke camp with the Pirates, but struggled with his command throughout April, surrendering seven runs and nine walks in 13 2/3 innings before being sent down. He came on in relief of A.J. Burnett on Monday, allowing one hit in one inning to lower his ERA to 4.30.
"He went down, reconnected his delivery and got a more consistent sinker in play right now," Hurdle said. "That's all about growth and all about experience, understanding really who you are and what your niche is, and I think we've helped him find his way back to being the best he can be at what he does."
Relief reinforcements were mandated by the bullpen's overtime work in Sunday's 11-inning win over the Reds. Five relievers combined for 10 shutout innings, ending a busy week in which they are also starred in a pair of 11-inning, 1-0 victories over the Tigers.
"Anybody that can come up here and help out, eat some innings and go out there and compete, give some arms some rest, I'm all for that," Hughes said. "It's an opportunity for me, so I'm ready to come out here and do it. Getting ahead in the count is only going to help that, because I'm going to be able to go more innings."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less