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Pirates notebook: Grilli takes another step in rehab

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Marlins Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, at PNC Park.

Closer Jason Grilli worked in Altoona's bullpen in late March, when the Pirates scrimmaged their Double-A affiliate. Saturday, Grilli will pitch again for the Curve.

Grilli (strained right forearm) threw a 25-pitch simulated game without problem Wednesday at PNC Park. He is scheduled to make a rehab appearance — one inning, 20 pitches maximum — Saturday with Altoona.

“I still have my jersey from spring training,” Grilli said. “Unfortunately, I'll get another chance to use it.”

Although Grilli would rather not be on the disabled list, his outing with Altoona is a significant step toward rejoining the Pirates. He plans to return to action before the regular season runs out.

“Do I think I could get outs here? Sure,” Grilli said. “But that's my confidence talking. Everybody wants me back the way I was. I don't want to be selfish. I'll be back as quick as possible without being stupid.”

Grilli threw all his pitches in the simulated game and reported no ill effects. If he feels good Thursday, Grilli will prepare for his Altoona stint.

“My arm strength is there,” Grilli said. “It's just a matter of fine-tuning things. I'm not worried about my velocity. It's about throwing strikes.”

Good news for Wandy

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (left forearm inflammation) was examined by Dr. James Andrews, who determined surgery will not be necessary. The Pirates said in an email that Rodriguez “will resume throwing in the next couple of days,” but gave no details.

After the season, Rodriguez is expected to trigger his $13 million player option for 2014. The Pirates are responsible for $7.5 million, and the Astros pay the rest.

Assuming Rodriguez uses the option, the Pirates will end up paying a total of $17.2 million of his salary from July 2012 through the end of the 2014 season.

General manager Neal Huntington indicated the Pirates took out an insurance policy in case Rodriguez sustained a serious injury and was unable to pitch again. Huntington did not divulge any details.

Rodriguez will turn 35 in January, one month before the start of spring training.

Since joining the Pirates, Rodriguez has pitched in 25 games (24 starts) and gone 11-8 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. In eight seasons with the Astros, he was 80-84 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.34 WHIP.

Black completes Mets trade

Reliever Vic Black will go to the Mets to complete the trade for outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck.

The Mets also included $250,000 in the deal, so the Pirates are on the hook for about $980,000 to pay off the combined remaining salaries of Byrd and Buck.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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