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Pirates notebook: Five-day break beneficial for Grilli

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Sunday, June 30, 2013, 6:30 p.m.

Midway through his first season as a closer, Jason Grilli said he's following the same personal care and maintenance plan he's always used.

“I think the adrenaline rush and what's happening (with the team) is taking care of me,” Grilli said Sunday. “There's not much else I have to add to what I've done in the past. I feel really good, and I think it's because I've put in a lot of (work) in the offseason.”

Grilli is on track for 76 appearances, which would be a career high. He's also only three years removed from major knee surgery which caused him to sit out an entire season.

“As I get older, I'm definitely more body conscious,” Grilli said. “With all the injuries I've had, I'm very keen on knowing what's right and what's wrong. Just paying attention to that, listening to my body and being very vocal (with) the trainers and the coaching staff.”

When there were signs a week ago that Grilli's batteries were running a bit low, manager Clint Hurdle gave him what amounted to five days off.

Saturday, Grilli climbed back on the mound and nailed down his 27th save. He needed just six pitches, and his fastball was clocked at 94.8 mph. — right around his season average.

In his previous two outings, Grilli struggled against the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels.

Grilli blew his first save June 19 against the Reds. He threw 10 pitches in the inning and his fastball sat at 93.6 mph. Four days later in Anaheim, Grilli gave up a season-high three runs on five hits in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Angels. He threw 28 pitches — his second-longest outing among 38 appearances — and his fastball ranged from 94.7 mph to 96.2 mph.

• There is a very good chance Grilli will be selected to the National League squad for the All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field in New York. If he makes the team, Grilli wouldn't mind giving up a day's rest to pitch. “If I'm there, I want to play,” Grilli said. “I want to get that experience. Both of my grandfathers were huge Mets fans, so that would be pretty cool. It would be like a big, Italian wedding for me.” All-Star rosters will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, when the Pirates will be at Wrigley Field to play the Cubs.

Wandy Rodriguez (forearm tightness) will be re-examined Monday, and Hurdle indicated the left-hander could receive an injection. The Pirates confirmed an injection is possible, but said only that it would not be a cortisone shot. Rodriguez did not throw a bullpen that was scheduled for Friday and was shut down due to continued discomfort in his arm.

— Rob Biertempfel

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