Pirates closer Jason Grilli might not ever win a Cy Young Award, but his manager makes it sound like Grilli's gritty career performance is worthy of an Oscar. “His story is like a movie,” Clint Hurdle said. “It's a great story. It's a former first-round pick who's had to persevere and reinvent himself and deal with adversity. “There's setback and success, to where things took off for him in a very positive direction. The thing that kept it moving was his attitude, effort and self-belief.” After playing for six organizations over 11 seasons in the majors, Grilli, 37, finally is where he wants to be. He came to spring training already knowing his finances — Grilli is in the second year of a $6.75 million contract — and role on the team are secure. On Thursday, Grilli is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut. Management is being cautious with him in camp as he missed six weeks last season because of a flexor strain. “We've mapped it out,” Hurdle said. “Last season, the World Baseball Classic was a great experience for him, but it challenged him physically. We have a plan to get him involved at a particular time and then add to it. He will get more than the six appearances he got last spring.” Most closers don't need more than a handful of spring training outings to hit their stride. It might seem like an unconventional way to prepare for a season, but Grilli never has been much for doing things the easy way. In 2001, Grilli was on an Opening Day roster for the first time and also hit his first (and only) home run, but he found himself back in the minors by May.
Healthy Pirates closer Grilli ready for encore
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Mar 5