Grilli removed from Pirates' closer role

The Sports NetworkJune 20, 2014 

Chicago, IL ( - Jason Grilli is out as the Pittsburgh Pirates' closer, with Mark Melancon back in.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announced prior to Friday's game with the Chicago Cubs that Grilli will not be used in save situations for the time being, this after the 2013 All-Star struggled once again in a loss to Cincinnati on Thursday.

Grilli surrendered a game-tying solo homer to the Reds' Devin Mesoraco in the ninth inning of Thursday's matchup, a game in which Cincinnati eventually won in 12 frames. It was the veteran's fourth blown save in 15 chances this season.

The 37-year-old blew just two of his 35 save opportunities during an outstanding 2013 campaign in which he played a key role in the Pirates reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1992.

Grilli's season earned run average rose to 4.34 following Thursday's outing, and he's recorded a 6.75 ERA over eight appearances in June.

Melancon served as Pittsburgh's closer while Grilli was sidelined for a month by a strained oblique earlier this season and performed well in the role, amassing 10 saves in May. He has plenty of closing experience as well, having saved 20 games with Houston in 2011 and 16 with the Pirates last year.

The right-hander has also excelled at keeping the ball in the park, an area where Grilli has had his troubles of late. In 107 games since joining the Pirates prior to the 2013 season, Melancon has yielded only two home runs.

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