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Pirates notebook: Closer Grilli open to contract extension

| Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, 6:36 p.m.

Pirates closer Jason Grilli is looking for a contract extension.

Grill is under contract for one more season with the Pirates. He will make $4.25 million in 2014, which is a bargain price for the club considering some of the game's top closers make $10 million per year or more. Grilli posted 33 saves last season to go with a 2.70 ERA. He struck out 13.3 batters per nine innings.

“I'd like to add years, of course,” Grilli said Saturday at PirateFest. “Whether it's wearing the Pirates jersey (beyond 2014) or another one, that's entirely up to the ballclub. I know after this year I'm a free agent again. I have every incentive to do well again for my team and for myself.”

Teams are often hesitant to give relievers multiyear contracts, particularly 37-year-old pitchers. Grilli did not indicate he was expecting an extension offer this offseason.

“(Former Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers manager) Sparky Anderson said it the best. He said if you want the most out of a guy, you give him a one-year deal,” Grilli said.

Grilli said his right elbow and forearm are healthy after he missed six weeks with a strained flexor tendon last season. Grilli lost some velocity when he returned.

“The right arm is good,” he said. “It's rested, and that's sometimes the best thing you can do for your body. I came back, and I was fine. ... I had to look at what was the cause. I was pitching quite a bit. I was called upon quite a bit. You look at the workload, you try to assess yourself. … I usually go as a hard as I can, but I want to be smart.”

Pirates target record

Pirates president Frank Coonelly told fans that the club's goal is to reach 2.5 million in attendance in 2014, which would be a PNC Park and a club record.

The Pirates drew 2,435,867 in 2001 when PNC Park opened. The Pirates drew 2.3 million fans last season, their second-highest attendance total in club history.

Decker to make case

General manager Neal Huntington said during the winter meetings that he expects to fill the right-field void internally, and newly acquired outfielder Jaff Decker hopes to be part of the solution.

Decker was Baseball America's No. 82 overall prospect with the San Diego Padres in 2010 before back-to-back, injury-riddled seasons downgraded his status. He had a bounce-back campaign in 2013 when he posted a .381 on-base mark and a .286 average with Triple-A Tucson.

“They said I have every opportunity to go out and play and have a spot in the outfield,” Decker said. “Health-wise, I feel great.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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