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


  • 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


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

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, 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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