Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Grilli feeling dreaded forearm tightness

By Jeff

There are certain phrases in baseball you never want to hear in the same sentence with players on the teams you cheer.

The first thing is "Dr. James Andrew." If you have a player seeing that guy, more often then not it is a serious injury. The second is shoulder or forearm tightness. Those terms usually are followed by Tommy John or rotator cuff surgery.

Well, last night, Pirates closer and All-Star Jason Grilli left in the bottom of the ninth inning with forearm tightness. With the news comes speculation from the local and national media. Many are fearing that Grilli could be done for the year.

Losing your All-Star closer, who has the second most saves in the league, is usually a pretty tough pill to swallow. Fortunately for the Buccos and their fans, the bullpen is one area they could afford an injury of this magnitude. If Grilli is out for an extended period of time, current set-up man Mark Melancon will do fine in the closer role. He has an ERA and WHIP below one.

If Melancon can't handle the stress of the closer role, then the Pirates have other options in Tony Watson, Justin Wilson or Vin Mazzaro who should be able to do the job if need be.

While injuries to All-Stars are never good, the Buccos lucked out in this one. If they were to lose Andrew McCutchen or Pedro Alvarez, there would be very little optimism for a playoff run.


  1. Your medical knowledge pretty advanced. I'm really impressed. You need to write a thank you letter to Hugh Laurie.

  2. I think all baseball fans know the possible outcomes when a pitcher has forearm or shoulder tightness. "House" didn't give me that one.

  3. I was about 60% sure he'd have Tommy John (trying to be optimistic) until I heard what Schilling said on the radio this morning. A pitcher typically doesn't strain his forearm in mid-July.

    Even if you're not a Pirates fan, you have to feel back for him. He's been waiting so long to be "the guy" and now that his team has a shot at the playoffs he might be unable to help.

    It's sad to see this happen to Grilli, but I'm excited to see Vic Black pitch. They were talking about him topping out at 101 MPH on the broadcast last night and Bob Walk said something like, "Where does Neal find these guys?" Well Bob, he was drafted 49th overall in the 2009 draft. You know, Neal's second year as GM. I hate how so many people I talk to, even some that know baseball pretty well, have wanted Neal to be fired for years. Their logic was that only the obvious draft picks are doing well (Pedro. Taillon, and Cole). Huntington was given no farm system except Cutch and Walker and he has turned this team around about as well as anyone could have hoped. Now that the talent has had time to develop, guys like Nick Kingham (4th round pick in 2010), Tyler Glasnow (5th round pick in 2011), and Vic Black are legitimate prospects or ready to help the big league squad. Even Tony Sanchez, who most thought would be a bust, is looking good with his .880 OPS in AAA. Guys like Locke and Morton, who were acquired via trade as prospects, have developed under the Pirates farm system and are maturing to impact players. Even if this season doesn't turn out with an NLDS appearance, there is a lot to be happy about as a Pirates fan with Neil in charge.

  4. Greg can I have you say all this to my dad? I thought he was going to smother me in my sleep last time I said something good about the farm system.

  5. Hahaha some people just want to be grumpy.