The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their closer Jason Grilli on Monday night against the Washington Nationals. Grilli came on in the ninth but struggled throughout the inning before going down with an arm injury.
The Pirates announced on Friday that Grilli has a strained right flexor tendon. According to team doctors, the injury will not require surgery but will require rest before beginning a throwing program.
Most pitchers miss four to eight weeks with this injury, but Grilli will be re-evaluated by Pittsburgh in 10-14 days.
The 36-year-old Grilli has been the rock of the Pirates bullpen in his first season as closer. He has 30 saves and a 2.34 ERA.
Without Grilli, the Pirates bullpen should still be able to get the job down. Mark Melancon will take over the role as closer. This season he is 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA.
Melancon has been rock solid for the Pirates after coming over in the Joel Hanrahan trade during the off-season
Both Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson earned late-inning opportunities this week but manager Clint Hurdle has not set a new setup man in stone.
Pittsburgh also has plenty of pitching depth in the minors. Right-hander Vic Black, who took Grilli’s roster spot, had 15 saves for AAA Indianapolis with a 2.31 ERA and 51 strikeouts.
Rumor has it that Pittsburgh is interested in former Giants closer Brian Wilson.
Wilson was a solid closer for the Giants before suffering an elbow injury in 2012. He worked out for several interested teams on Thursday, including the Pirates.
According to a scout “Wilson looked good” and was throwing his fastball between 90-93 mph.
The Pirates have plenty of options to compensate for the loss of Grilli.