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Pirates notebook: Grilli eagerly awaits chance to come off DL

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates closer Jason Grilli stands with manager Clint Hurdle in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates closer Jason Grilli stands with manager Clint Hurdle in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates closer Jason Grilli fist-bumps Jose Tabata in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates closer Jason Grilli fist-bumps Jose Tabata in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates closer Jason Grilli fires up his teammates in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates closer Jason Grilli fires up his teammates in the dugout before a game against the Orioles on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at PNC Park.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
 

If Jason Grilli had his way, he would be on the mound for the Pirates as opposed to pitching another simulated game such as the one he threw Tuesday.

If all goes well Wednesday, Grilli shouldn't have to wait much longer.

The Pirates closer will pitch one more simulated game — to test himself on back-to-back days — and said the next step should include being activated from the disabled list, where he has been since late April.

“I'm fulfilling their requirements, and I'm passing with flying colors,” Grilli said. “We as players know when we're ready, and in our minds, we're always ready. We're the horses. They're the jockeys, and we just try to communicate. And seeing is believing, too. But it all feels good, and that's the big thing.”

Grilli went on the disabled list April 26, retroactive to April 21, with an oblique strain. He has pitched eight innings in eight games this season and is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

“He feels fine. He feels healthy,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He threw all his pitches off the mound with intent. The challenge now will be for him to get out there back-to-back days and see how the fastball command shows up, how sharp the breaking ball is and those kind of things.”

Martin working way back

Catcher Russell Martin, on the disabled list since April 26 with a hamstring strain, took swings during Grilli's simulated game and will catch for him Wednesday.

“The catching component is the most critical right now,” said Hurdle, who planned to meet with general manager Neal Huntington and bench coach Jeff Bannister after batting practice regarding Martin.

“He's shown the ability to swing the at-bat. He fired a checked swing off (Tuesday) and didn't feel anything. He's ramped up the running portion of it. We'll have a conversation after batting practice on what the future is going to hold.”

Reversal of fortunes

The Pirates entered Tuesday's game with an 18-25 record after holding a 25-18 record after 43 games last season.

It's their fewest wins after 43 games since the 2010 season, when they also were 18-25.

They were 20-23 after 43 games in 2011 and '12.

Odds and ends

Members of the 1979 Pirates team will be at PNC Park on Wednesday for pregame festivities celebrating the 35th anniversary of their win over the Orioles in the World Series. … Jose Tabata was available off the bench Tuesday. … Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen session Monday and will throw one more before beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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