Pirates notebook: Grilli closer to regaining 9th
NEW YORK — Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is not ready to place Jason Grilli back in the closer's role, but Hurdle indicated Tuesday that Grilli is close to returning to ninth-inning duties.
Grilli recorded a save in his first appearance off the disabled list Friday against the Washington Nationals, but that was not by design. It was because of an exhausted bullpen.
“I think we'll use our eyes during the next opportunity he gets,” Hurdle said. “He's not going to be far away, but I would like to get him out there another time before we make any kind of statement or get the bullpen together and proclaim roles. I do like my bullpen best with Grilli closing.”
While the Pirates' bullpen has blown an MLB-high 11 saves — the Mets were tied for second with nine entering play Tuesday — the Pirates bullpen ranks fifth in baseball with a 2.81 ERA, which is slightly lower than their bullpen ERA last season (2.89).
Grilli came on to pitch the eighth inning Tuesday. He allowed one hit and struck out the side. His fastball was between 92-94 mph, in line with his normal velocity.
“I think our bullpen is moving toward as good a place as it's been all year,” Hurdle said.
Behind the curtain
Visiting major league staffs have been invited to visit MLB's instant replay headquarters in New York when passing through the city. Hurdle was unable to visit this week, but he sent several members of his coaching staff with questions.
“You don't get an explanation (after reviews) you get a call. So we just earmarked a handful of plays we had questions about,” Hurdle said. “It was fact-finding. It was also understanding definitions.”
The Pirates had a question from their Monday game at Citi Field, when Mets baserunner Juan Lagares initially was ruled out at home. The play was overturned when it was ruled Pirates catcher Russell Martin illegally blocked the plate.
“We found out how you are going to have to make the play,” Hurdle said “The initial set up, if (Martin) could have set up to one side of the plate and then the play took him where it had taken him we could have gotten the call.
“Where the throw was, where the ball was, heat of the moment ... guys have been doing it so many years — we are almost having to reboot some computers, mentally, on those spontaneous plays.”
Josh Harrison has made a name for himself in recent weeks in right field, but Tuesday he started at third base in place of Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez is one of two Pirates, along with Neil Walker, who have played in all 50 games. Harrison's versatility is key to securing future playing time with top prospect Gregory Polanco expected to arrive soon from Triple-A Indianapolis to play right field.
Hurdle was asked Tuesday about the club's decision to designate reliever Vin Mazzaro for assignment to clear a roster spot for right-handed starter Brandon Cumpton when fellow reliever Jared Hughes had options remaining. “He was pitching better,” Hurdle said. “(Mazzaro) wasn't as sharp.”
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
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.
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle quiet on rotation plans
- Morton, Pirates blank Red Sox in series opener
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Wednesday’s scouting report: Red Sox at Pirates
- Pitt notebook: Expanded game plan likely awaits Iowa
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Tuesday’s scouting report: Red Sox at Pirates
- Thursday’s scouting report: Pirates at Phillies
- Rossi: Melancon change good for Pirates
- Statistically speaking: Pirates could punish Cubs’ fly-ball pitchers
- Pirates notebook: Status quo for Morton’s health after latest bullpen session