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Pirates demote Jason Grilli from the closer role

Jun 20, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

grilli getty Getty Images

Last night Jason Grilli gave up a game-tying homer against the Reds and today the Pirates announced that he’s been demoted from the closer role.

According to manager Clint Hurdle it’s not intended to be a permanent change, although surely that depends on how fill-in closer Mark Melancon fares in the role and on how Grilli bounces back with some middle relief work.

Melancon has been fantastic filling in as closer during Grilli’s injuries this season and last season, saving a total of 26 games with a 1.55 ERA in 104 innings, so the Pirates are in a very good situation in terms of having an extremely capable alternative.

Grilli had a sub-3.00 ERA for the Pirates in 2011, 2012, and 2013–including an All-Star appearance last year–but he’s allowed runs in three of his last four games and at age 37 it’s possible Hurdle and company think he might be slowing down overall.

  1. gdobs227 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I expect that Tony Watson will also get a chance to close out a few games here and there.

    Also, for peek into Grilli’s extremely narcissistic mind, check out his new book “Just My Game.” He talks about practically having to stand in a soup line because he was only making $60,000 a year in AAA. Even goes so far as to compare himself to Jesus – one of the reasons he grew long hair and a beard.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Just My Game mostly received favorable reviews at, although the sole negative review agrees with you that Grilli comes across as narcissistic.

  2. stex52 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    I think that is one of the problems with even announcing you have an official “closer.” I am dubious about it as a defined role. You have 6 or 7 relievers. It is pretty obvious most of the time who thrives in the ninth inning role, but what is the point of making it official. Now you have to embarrass the guy because he is pushed out of it for a while.

    Just change who goes out their. Do it without the hoop-la. Fewer personalities and egos to deal with.

    • stex52 - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      “goes out there”

  3. SocraticGadfly - Jun 20, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Dear Mike Scioscia: Take notes.

  4. navyeoddavee9 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Honestly, about time, “grilled cheese” has been soggy all year

  5. bostonfrogs - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Detroit will be glad to take him off your hands, if you’re done borrowing him. Maybe a change of scenery back to his old stomping grounds is just what he needs.

  6. jsala02 - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Tony Watson and his sub 1 ERA should get a shot

  7. musketmaniac - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    with Justin Wilson in a funk, I don’t think they’ll limit him to the ninth. Only good left hander in the pen this season.

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