Grilli Placed on DL, Inge Designated for Assignment, Walker and Black Join Pirates

Jason Grilli Pirates Injury

Jason Grilli is out for at least two weeks with a right forearm strain. (Photo by: David Hague)

The Pirates placed closer Jason Grilli on the 15-day disabled list after he left Monday’s game from suffering a right forearm strain. The team recalled Neil Walker (right side soreness) from the DL on Tuesday to start at second base.

Brandon Inge was designated for assignment Tuesday. The veteran infielder did not produce for the Pirates after joining the team this offseason, posting only a .204 on-base percentage and .442 OPS, the worst total for any Pittsburgh player in five years. Inge being DFA means he is off both the active and 40-man roster, but the Pirates still retain his rights until he is traded or claimed off waivers. It appears Inge’s reputation as a clubhouse leader was not enough to overcome his poor play and keep a roster spot.

Right-handed pitcher Vic Black (uniform No. 68) will join the Pirates to keep the team at seven relievers in the bullpen. The 49th overall draft pick in 2009 will make his Major League debut in his first appearance. This season, Black’s first in Triple-A, he has a 2.31 ERA over 35 innings, striking out 51 hitters and walking 13 by utilizing a high-90’s fastball and sharp breaking ball. He has the stuff to pitch high-leverage innings right away.

Brandon Inge

Brandon Inge has gone through the worst offensive season of his 13-year career. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Grilli, 36, made his first All-Star Game this month as he became one of baseball’s best relief pitchers. His 1.63 FIP and 30 saves lead all National League relievers, created by a devastating fastball-slider combination he has used to strike out 39% of the batters Grilli has faced this season. We expect the Pirates to make Mark Melancon the team’s closer while Grilli is out. Melancon’s 1.75 FIP is 2nd in the NL, and he closed for the Houston Astros two seasons ago.

No word on how long Grilli is expect to be out with his arm strain, though he missed 19 games with right elbow inflammation in 2009.. He is on his way to Pittsburgh for further examinations.

Walker returns to start at second base, where Jordy Mercer has started the last nine games. The Pittsburgh native’s hitting numbers are down this season (.244/.347/.384), though his on-base percentage remains high enough that he could improve his numbers against right-handed pitchers. Walker, hitting 7th in Tuesday’s lineup, missed 14 games earlier this season after suffering a right hand injury. Though Mercer has cooled off from his hot start (.553 OPS in July over 62 plate appearances), he should still see regular playing time at shortstop and starts there Tuesday.

Current 25-Man Roster

Starting Lineup

  • Catcher: Russell Martin
  • First Base: Garrett Jones
  • Second Base: Neil Walker
  • Third Base: Pedro Alvarez
  • Shortstop: Jordy Mercer
  • Left Field: Starling Marte
  • Center Field: Andrew McCutchen
  • Right Field: Jose Tabata

Bench

  • Catcher: Michael McKenry
  • First Base: Gaby Sanchez
  • Shortstop: Clint Barmes
  • Outfield: Travis Snider
  • Utility: Josh Harrison

Starting Rotation

  • RHP A.J. Burnett
  • LHP Francisco Liriano
  • LHP Jeff Locke
  • RHP Charlie Morton
  • RHP Gerrit Cole

Bullpen

  • RHP Mark Melancon
  • LHP Justin Wilson
  • LHP Tony Watson
  • RHP Vin Mazzaro
  • RHP Jeanmar Gomez
  • RHP Vic Black
  • RHP Bryan Morris
James Santelli

Author: James Santelli

James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person. Google

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  • CalipariFan506

    Not defending Inge but I fail to see how Josh Harrison is a better option.

    • Y2JGQ2

      Calipari- this in no means is meant to be an affront, but if you had been watching the AB’s of each player, you’d see how he’s a better option. See if you can get the last 10 major league AB”s of each player and watch them objectively, and you’ll have an answer.

      • Y2JGQ2

        You can go back 70 AB’s if you want, and you can include INGE’s minor league rehab too if you want to spend some more time- Harrison is a better player on pertty much every level but power, and power has no value if you can’t physically hit the baseball. You don’t get credit for air traveling over the fence.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.j.stein.3 Jeremy J Stein

          Lol “air traveling over the fence”.
          .
          I agree, a lot of players are better than Inge, including Harrison even if Harrison isn’t exactly exciting.

    • jg941

      Maybe what you were getting at (maybe) is that if the roster gets better with Inge gone, it probably gets better yet with Harrison gone.

      JHay’s been nothing but mediocre at the MLB level. I’d just as soon see DeJesus get a shot, although I know that requires a new 40-man spot.

      • Y2JGQ2

        I completely agree and I think De Jesus deserves a shot since he has hit all year and hasn’t had much of a chance at all with pittsburgh. we know what we have with harrison and we can send him down unlike inge. problem is, de jesus isn’t on the 40 man. if he was, we would have seen him already

    • https://www.facebook.com/tom.shock.7 Tom Shock

      Harrison is only going to be around for another few days. They are probably going to start shaping the somewhat final roster , before the Cardinals series begins.
      They need some POWER off this bench, and i am sure NH realizes this.
      Inge was and is terrible as a Pirate.
      I for 1 , will not miss him a bit.
      At least with Harrison, there is a chance he can actually get some contact and either drive the ball into the gap, or beat one out with his legs.
      Inge couldn’t do either of those things.
      Actually the only thing Inge did well with the bat, was pop up to 1st or 2nd base, or swing it 3 times(sometimes 1x) and not make contact.
      This is a small step, that this team may be truly serious, when they say “best 25″ are on the team.
      Surely , their are at least 4 or 5 guys at AAA i would rather see at the plate, then Inge, in any situation.
      Presley, Pie, Lambo, Kanzler, Sanchez, Hague are 6 right there!.
      Just retire Inge, no one is looking for a 180 hitter with a good sense of humor.

  • benh444

    hes an adequate defender at multiple positions and he hits above the mendoza line

    • piraterican21

      SI cover curse strikes again!

      • michaelbro8

        Well, if Buster Posey goes down in the next couple of days, then we’re really looking at some kind of Twilight Zone thing !

  • Y2JGQ2

    James- Comeon man!

    “The 49th overall draft pick in 2009 will make his Major League debut in his first appearance”

    He’s pitched in 4 games with a 2.25ERA this year with the Pirates. Check your work my friend, this isn’t MLB.com

    • https://profiles.google.com/100508923100437214310 William Beckley

      You realize spring training games don’t count?

    • James Santelli

      Spring training. The “Major League debut” always applies to first regular season game. Don’t step…

    • Kevin_Young

      …says the guy who forgot to check his “checked work.”

      • Y2JGQ2

        Haha- my bad guys and James!. I didn’t think MLB.com would automatically default to spring training during the season. I eat my words!

    • skliesen

      Ill be highly disappointed if he chooses any other song than “Pant it Black” as his intro song!

      • 2013orbust

        I would go with “Back in Black”

  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    Harrison is a placeholder for whomever they will trade for. In the meantime he’s decent vs. LHP and can run,if he can avoid getting picked off.

  • CalipariFan506

    I’ve seen enough of Inge and Harrison to know they are both non factors offensively. Harrison struggles to bunt, is a terrible base runner and is worse defensively than Inge. I don’t think Inge is MLB caliber either. Just slightly more so than Harrison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daryl.restly Daryl Restly

    Any chance the Pirates could trade for Kevin Frandsen of the Phillies?

  • cwalla24

    The 4 games were in Spring Training, maybe you should check yourself. Good article James!

  • CalipariFan506

    Harrison as a pinch hitter has .104/.120/.104 slash line. Granted its just over 50 PA but lets hope there is an upgrade to be made. I don’t see the bench one but stronger today than yesterday.

    • pirateradio

      I like Harrison…he all-out hustles, seems like a good guy & can hit in AAA (but I think he’s the worst bunting middle infielder I’ve ever seen). He might be hitting lousy in the MLB this year, but in AAA, he’s at .317 with 29 doubles. I don’t think that’s worth giving up on.

      In 60 AB in AAA, Inge hit .150, so I don’t really think there’s a comparison

  • wlenik

    Ivan De Jesus is hitting .335 in AAA I’d rather have him over Harrison to be the utility infielder for now but I would like to go after Frandsen

  • michaelbro8

    I wish Inge well, but this move, as we all know, was long overdue. Loyalty to a vet is admirable, but Inge has really hurt this team in several instances over the last month. I’m not a JHay fan either – he has too many fundamental lackings. I’d love to see the Bucs go get a solid mid-infield option who can perform as a pinch hitter (much tougher job than most people think). Maybe that player is sitting at Indy named De Jesus.

  • TonyC17

    The difference calipari is that Harrison puts the ball in play. They can both bat .100 but the difference is Harrison gives them a chance to make an error. A chance to hit a sac fly!! Inge strikes out every time. Also Inge maybe a better hitter but we don’t need a fielder. We need a hitter and Harrison is the better hitter. He is not part of our best 25 but better than inge

  • Rebel

    Hilarious !! @ check your work. Congratulations to V Black!!!

  • csnumber23

    I am so glad they called up V. Black over Hughes!! Hughes does not impress me and I don’t trust him at all. I’m anxious to see how Black looks.

    Also, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Inge finally get his pink slip!!

    The Pirate’s management team are making the right moves in my opinion.

  • justin14

    Glad to see Harrison stay over Inge. I wonder if we are still going to go for an infielder at the deadline to replace Harrison though. Harrison might have only gained a couple days from this move.

    • https://www.facebook.com/tom.shock.7 Tom Shock

      Yes, they will find someone to fill Harrisons role.
      He may be part of a trade package, which would be good for all parties.