PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli joined The Cook and Poni Show on Thursday morning.
Grilli admits that despite being in the warm Florida weather right now, he is looking forward to getting back to Pittsburgh not only this weekend for an appearance, but also for the upcoming season.
“I’m anxious to get back and feel that rush of closing games in Pittsburgh again,” Grilli said.
He knows that the team he returns to this year will look different than the one he left last October.
“Last season is over,” Grilli said. “We had a great season and we were the Wild Card winners, but we didn’t win the World Series. That is the focus and the goal this year. It should be our goal every year.”
He said that despite losing some key members of the team, there is enough left to keep winning.
“I believe in every guy in that clubhouse,” Grilli said. “I am more excited about the guys we have left than worried about those who left.”
One of those guys who might not be coming back is pitcher A.J. Burnett, who is still deciding on whether he may return to the Pirates or retire.
Grilli is a family who gets why he is having a hard time making a decision.
“Selfishly, I would lobe to have him back, but this is a grind on you mentally and physically,” Grilli said. “I can’t be mad at him no matter his decision.”
Grilli said that at least Burnett has the ability to walk away without regrets because he has the rings and has made enough money to retire comfortably.
Money is always a hot topic when it comes to talking about Pirates baseball. He sees the deals that some of these players have received during the offseason and admits he is a bit envious about it not because he expects a large money deal, but he knows he plays for a team that doesn’t spend for those high-priced free agents.
“I don’t have a choice, but to accept it. It’s not my money,” Grilli said. “No money can pay for the heart of those guys we have in that clubhouse.”
He says he is aware that there will be a pressure on this team to repeat what they were able to do last season. He said they set the bar last year, raised the expectations and they knew this was going to be the case. However, this team feels as though they have a good core of players here, a good system and the younger players will be welcomed and expected to help the team win.
Listen to the full interview here: