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.