PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle revealed in today’s pregame meeting with the media that he has removed reliever Jason Grilli from the closer role.
“Jason is gonna get moved out of the closer’s role, and we’re going to give him the opportunity to get a few outings in, when we’re behind,” Hurdle said. “He can’t wait to get out there and work on a couple of things. We had a very engaging conversation a few minutes ago with Ray [Searage], him and I. He’s all about doing what’s best for the club and getting better.”
When asked about what exactly has been wrong with Grilli, Hurdle said they don’t have it narrowed down.
“I don’t have those answers,” Hurdle told the assembled media. “I think when you miss location, you can say it’s mechanical, but I’ve shared with you all a lot that everything starts with a thought. He did talk about feeling. For pitchers, feeling can be mechanics. I do know that there’s times where we’re all best served by just getting out of it.”
The Pirates’ manager also addressed the tough existence of a major league closer and why it’s important to take these steps with Grilli.
“There’s no safety net for a closer,” Hurdle said. “There never is when they do the job they’re supposed to, and when they don’t, it’s a violation of baseball policy. So, he won’t have to deal with that for a while, which in and of itself I think will help.”
While Grilli is given this break from the closer role, Hurdle said he has a plan for who will replace him.
“Well use [Mark] Melancon, there could be an opportunity too where we use [Tony] Watson. Grilli had 11 saves, Melancon had 10. They piggy-backed it last year in Jason’s absence, so we’re very confident of what Mark can do there.”
Click the audio link below to hear more from Hurdle on Grilli, which pitches are getting him into trouble and how the ups and downs of Grilli’s career will only serve to help him here.
The Pirates are in Wrigley Field to take on the Cubs in a three-game series starting Friday and that will be the first opportunity we’ll have to see how the newly configured bullpen works out.
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