BRADENTON -- Whenever Pirates reliever Jason Grilli was given the ball last season with Pittsburgh, he thrived. Grilli pitched from the 5th inning on during the 2011 season, but it was in the back end of the 'pen that Grilli enjoyed the most.

“I hope that’s my role," Grilli said of pitching towards the back of the bucco bullpen. "I’ve always taken the ball whenever it’s been given to me, whatever inning that is. I worked my way to being a back end of a bullpen guy thanks to [Pirates Manager] Clint Hurdle. He’s been a very big proponent for me in my career from the time he said, ‘what do you want out of your career?’ I said, ‘I want to be in an important role in key situations’. He felt that I could handle the back end, the later innings. I like that. I always have."

Grilli, who signe...

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