Pirates notebook: Hurdle returns Grilli to closer role; Melancon will set up in 8th
Manager Clint Hurdle is returning to the bullpen arrangement that made the Pirates' pen the best in baseball during the first half of the season. Hurdle said Monday that Jason Grilli will be the closer going forward, Mark Melancon will be used in the eighth inning with Justin Wilson and Tony Watson again employed as late-game situational lefties. Grilli recorded his first save Saturday since returning from an elbow injury. His velocity is a tick down, but his slider is sharp enough to miss bats. “It's basically restructured the way it was for the first three-and-a-half months of the season before Grilli's injury,” Hurdle said. Grilli told the Tribune-Review on Friday that “It's easier to do your job and be successful when you know what that job is.” Melancon initially pitched well as the team's interim closer but has struggled in recent weeks, blowing two saves in three days last week. The Pirates are 76-3 when leading after eight innings this season, but two of those losses came last week.
Starting catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup Monday. He was pulled from Sunday's game with discomfort in his left knee and he was given back-to-back days of rest last week. Martin originally injured his knee in July. “He's good enough to play. He wants to play,” Hurdle said. ... Jose Tabata again started over Starling Marte in left field Monday. Marte (hand) is healthy enough to play. Hurdle is playing the hot bat.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Pirates sign independent league pitcher
- Pirates, Orioles had trade talks involving 2B Walker
- Rossi: Baseball should retire Roberto Clemente’s No. 21
- Pirates season opener moved to April 3
- Pirates protect top prospects in advance of Rule 5 draft