The Pittsburgh Pirates activated Jason Grilli from the disabled list Tuesday, and the All-Star knows he has some work to do before reclaiming his spot as the team’s closer.
Grilli says he’ll be ready when the time comes.
”I think I showed that my arm is where it needs to be and there’s not really much to prove for myself and I’m being honest with them,” Grilli said before the Pirates faced the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a three-game series.
Pittsburgh won 5-2 on Monday night at Miller Park to move one game ahead of St. Louis atop the NL Central.
”This is not a selfish move on my part,” continued Grilli. ”I want to just come and pitch and when they give me the ball, I’m going to pitch and face some big-league hitters to be the guy that I was, that everybody knows me as.
”I don’t expect that I’ll be closing games right away. I’m OK with that.”
The 36-year-old right-hander had been on the DL since straining the right flexor tendon in his pitching arm during a 6-5 victory over Washington on July 22. He had been on a rehab assignment in the minors before being recalled Tuesday.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Grilli will make at least a couple of relief appearances in non-save situations before resuming his role as the closer.
”Our eyes will tell us what to do with him after that, I believe … his eyes and our eyes,” Hurdle said. ”We eventually plan on transitioning him back to the closer role.”
Grilli made the All-Star team for the first time this season and was second in the NL with 30 saves at the time of his injury.
Right-hander Mark Melancon, who stepped in as the closer, earned his 10th save after pitching a scoreless ninth Monday. He has allowed one earned run in his last 15 games.