{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Hughes steps in right direction for Bucs 'pen

Hughes steps in right direction for Bucs 'pen

|
Hughes steps in right direction for Bucs 'pen

PITTSBURGH -- The Jared Hughes Project, the Pirates' most downplayed undertaking of the summer, took a significant forward step on Friday night.

In his first appearance for the Bucs in two months, Hughes pitched a scoreless eighth inning against Colorado. Hughes did allow a hit and a walk, but manager Clint Hurdle felt the outing moved him closer to resuming the important role he played as a rookie in the 2012 bullpen's success.

"We saw a guy probably just excited to be back," said Hurdle, attributing some command issues to adrenaline. "He was in a little hurry at times. But we're in a good place with him. I know he feels good just getting that one behind him."

Hughes was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation on June 3, but has admitted pitching with discomfort for a while before deciding to clue in team staff. He remained shut down for nearly a month, following the recovery program laid out for him by the training staff, which Hughes continued during a three-week rehab assignment to Indianapolis.

In 18 total appearances with the Triple-A Indians -- including on a straight option earlier in the season -- Hughes allowed one run in 21 innings, for an ERA of 0.43.

Hughes wore a wide smile after Friday's outing, saying, "I felt good. Pain-free. That's much better."

Hughes has a 4.67 ERA in 17 1/3 innings this season in three separate big league stints, and a return of the guy who in 2012 led all National League rookie relievers with a 2.85 ERA (in 66 appearances) could be huge for the Bucs.

Jason Grilli's injury and Mark Melancon's move into the closer's role has had a trickle-down effect on the setup class. Last season, Hughes appeared to be getting groomed for that job, and he can still be an important span on the new bridge to Melancon.

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español