Jeff Locke had a hideous 7.94 ERA in five August starts and was demoted to the minor leagues last Wednesday evening. But he is coming right back.
According to MLB.com’s Tom Singer, Locke was officially recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday afternoon and will rejoin the Pirates’ starting rotation this Saturday night against the Cardinals.
It’s a crucial start against one of the teams — the other being the Reds — that the Bucs are trying to fend off for the National League Central crown.
Locke posted a stellar 2.15 ERA across 109 innings during the first half of the season and was rewarded in July with his first All-Star nod, but the shine wore off quickly in the second half for the 25-year-old southpaw. He has a 6.18 ERA in 39 1/3 innings since July 21.
Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an update on the status of Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, who suffered multiple fractures in his jaw when he was beaned by a fastball on August 21:
Jason Heyward isn’t chewing solid food yet, but he did get a pleasant surprise during a visit to the oral surgeon Tuesday. He was cleared to begin playing some catch and swinging at balls off a tee.
“I was excited to get the process started,” Heyward told reporters Tuesday after receiving that clearance. “It happened sooner that I would have expected.”
The 24-year-old has already been ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 regular season, but he could return for the playoffs. Heyward was batting .253/.347/.423 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 95 games played.
The first-place Pirates are getting a nice boost.
According to beat reporter Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, right-hander Jason Grilli has been activated from the disabled list and will be available to pitch in Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers. Mark Melancon will remain the Bucs’ closer in the immediate future, but Grilli can reclaim that ninth-inning gig if he pitches well enough.
“We’ll use him at least a couple times in non-leverage situations to see how he fares, how he feels,” manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday. “We eventually plan on transitioning him back to the closer’s role.”
Grilli had a 2.34 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 30 saves in 42 1/3 innings this season before straining his right forearm on a slider in late July. Pittsburgh currently leads St. Louis by one game in the National League Central.
Carlos Gonzalez has been activated from the disabled list and will be available off the Rockies’ bench Tuesday for the first time since August 4.
But it won’t exactly be a triumphant return.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that CarGo is only available to play defense and pinch-run due to lingering pain in his right middle finger. Gonzalez has changed the way he grips a bat and is hoping to be ready to hit at some point this week, but the out-of-contention Rockies likely won’t force the issue.
Gonzalez, 27, is batting .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs and 70 RBI in 103 games this season for the Rockies, who are currently 12 1/2 games out of the National League Wild Card hunt.