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Grilli aims to impart wisdom in bullpen

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated right-hander Jason Grilli on Monday to help bolster the bullpen with the veteran presence it has been lacking.

Grilli, who notched two strikeouts over one inning of work in the Rangers' 7-5 loss to the Red Sox on Monday, was acquired on Sunday from Toronto for Minor Leaguer Eduard Pinto. The 40-year-old Grilli has been on 12 teams including the Rangers, whom he played for in 2009 before making his return on Monday. Left-hander Dario Alvarez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the active roster.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers activated right-hander Jason Grilli on Monday to help bolster the bullpen with the veteran presence it has been lacking.

Grilli, who notched two strikeouts over one inning of work in the Rangers' 7-5 loss to the Red Sox on Monday, was acquired on Sunday from Toronto for Minor Leaguer Eduard Pinto. The 40-year-old Grilli has been on 12 teams including the Rangers, whom he played for in 2009 before making his return on Monday. Left-hander Dario Alvarez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the active roster.

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"Outstanding," manager Jeff Banister said of Grilli's debut. "Got three outs. Very similar to what I've seen Grilli do before. He's a veteran guy, obviously, and he knows how to pitch."

Grilli was 2-4 with a 6.97 ERA with the Blue Jays this year before being designated for assignment, and although he's not on the ballclub to solely dispense wisdom to a young bullpen, he knows how valuable advice from someone who's been in the game a long time can be.

"It's just, we're all people. There's a learning curve that goes with this, but I've seen the arsenal of arms here," Grilli said. "Probably every single one of these guys has way better stuff than me. I wish I could harness some of my youth through them, but if I can impart what I know and give them that confidence, that they can have somebody to lean on -- whether it's on the bus, the plane, here, restaurant, wherever, that's how you learn.

"Having someone in your corner [is big]. My dad's been through it. I've always had him. That's kind of been a huge piece for me. Not everybody's father's played in the big leagues and you have a buddy or have a teammate that can kind of take you under his wing, it's a huge thing."

Banister said Grilli wouldn't be defined to a specific role and would use him mostly in later-inning situations. He mentioned having Grilli with the bullpen out in right field during games is important, where he can provide advice to a Rangers bullpen that has blown saves in nine of the past 14 chances and is in flux regarding the closer situation.

"I think he'll pitch in those later innings, kind of leverage-type situations, kind of help glue some of those other guys together," Banister said. "In the bullpen, as far as leadership, this guy's pitched in pretty much all roles. There's a number of conversations being had, experience being talked about. He's got a wealth of it, and he's willing to share. I think it's a win-win to have a guy like that out there."

Grilli also reunites with Ernesto Frieri. The two were traded for each other in 2014; Grilli to the Angels and Frieri to the Pirates. They crossed paths in the bathroom at Chicago's O'Hare airport, and now they're in the same clubhouse three years later.

"I told myself, 'Wait a minute. You know that guy,'" Frieri said, upon noticing Grilli's signature long hair around his shoulders.

The two shook hands and wished each other good luck, and Grilli said they once again shook hands in the weight room when he arrived in Arlington.

Rangers beat

A.J. Griffin threw a bullpen session and played catch in the outfield before Monday's game. He's currently on the 60-day disabled list with a left intercostal strain.

• During their first two games against the Red Sox this week, the Rangers are wearing stars-and-stripes-decorated caps and a matching jersey for Independence Day, and they've got the option to wear matching stars-and-stripes socks.

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers, Jason Grilli