|Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 39|
November 11, 1976 |
Royal Oak, Michigan
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|May 11, 2000 for the Florida Marlins|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||4.17|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jason Michael Grilli (born November 11, 1976) nicknamed "The Grill" and "Grilled Cheese", is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has previously played for the Florida Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, and Texas Rangers.
- 1 Amateur career
- 2 Professional career
- 3 Personal
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Following his high school career at Charles W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville, New York, Grilli was drafted in the 24th round of the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees, but chose not to sign. Instead, he opted to play college baseball at Seton Hall University, which he attended from 1995–1997.
Grilli earned high reviews from scouts prior to the draft, who noted his good delivery, size, and bloodlines. Milwaukee Brewers scout Russ Bove wrote that Grilli reminded him of Jim Palmer. As a high draft pick, Grilli was immediately considered to be a top prospect. Baseball America ranked him as the #54 prospect in 1998 and the #44 prospect in 1999.
Grilli began his professional career in 1998 with the Double-A Shreveport Captains of the Texas League and the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League. In 21 games for the Captains, Grilli went 7–10 with a 3.79 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 123⅓ innings pitched. With the Grizzlies Grilli went 2–3 with a 5.14 ERA in eight games, all starts.
Florida Marlins (2000-2001)
Grilli made his major league debut on May 11, 2000.
Chicago White Sox (2004)
Grilli was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2003 Rule 5 draft. Grilli had previously been heavily scouted as an amateur by White Sox scout Doug Laumann. He spent 2004 in the White Sox organization after being selected. In January 2005, after the White Sox signed Tadahito Iguchi, Grilli was designated for assignment and eventually released.
Detroit Tigers (2005-2008)
In 2005, he signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. Tigers scouts and GM Dave Dombrowski were familiar with Grilli's abilities, having previously traded for him while running the Marlins in 1999. After helping the Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens to the International League Championship (he clinched the deciding game), Grilli joined the parent club for a brief late-season audition.
Grilli pitched for Team Italy in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He also had a good spring training and earned a spot in the Tigers bullpen as a long reliever, leading to his first extended stint in the majors. During the 2006 season, Grilli went 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA. He helped the Tigers to the 2006 World Series where they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2007, Grilli posted career highs in almost every category, including games (57), innings (79⅔), strikeouts (62), wins (5), and holds (11). However, Grilli heard boos at Comerica Park during the season, mostly due to his home ERA of 7.96. He was much more effective away from home, posting a 1.91 ERA in road games. Tigers manager Jim Leyland defended Grilli: "I like Grilli because he's got a resilient arm...There's a lot to be said for that."
It was during his time with the Tigers that Grilli decided to abandon his big-breaking curveball in favor of a slider. The move coincided with a transition from starting games in the minor leagues to relief pitching in the major leagues. Tigers teammate Jeremy Bonderman, known for throwing a very effective slider, helped Grilli tweak his grip and delivery. "I knew I could throw a slider because it's just a minor adjustment on how you release the ball," Grilli said."
Colorado Rockies (2008-2009)
On June 5, 2009, Grilli was designated for assignment by the Rockies.
Texas Rangers (2009)
Cleveland Indians (2010)
On December 2, 2009, Grilli signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians with an invite to spring training. Grilli suffered a severe knee injury in spring training while running sprints and would later undergo surgery for a torn quadriceps muscle. The injury and rehabiliation caused him to miss the entire 2010 season. Grilli filed for free agency on November 6, 2010.
Philadelphia Phillies (2011)
On January 30, 2011, Grilli signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, posting a 1.93 ERA in 32 1/3 innings, before being released on July 20.
Pittsburgh Pirates (2011-present)
Grilli signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 21, 2011, and spent the rest of the season on the Pirates major league roster. The signing reunited Grilli with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who had been Grilli's manager with the Rockies several year prior.
Grilli played in 64 games for the Pirates in the 2012 season, recording a 1–6 record and 2.91 ERA. His 32 holds were second-best in the National League, and his 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings was the fourth-best among NL relievers with 40 or more innings pitched. Grilli's fastball averaged 93.6 mph that season, his top velocity since 2007.
On December 12, 2012, the Pirates announced that they had re-signed Grilli to a two-year contract, the first multi-year deal of his career. Several sportswriters noted that Grilli turned down more lucrative offers from other teams to remain with the Pirates. Just two weeks later, the Pirates made a major trade by sending incumbent closer Joel Hanrahan along with infielder Brock Holt to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Ivan De Jesus, relief pitcher Mark Melancon, relief pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, and outfielder Jerry Sands. The move opened up the Pirates closer role for the upcoming season, with Grilli as the presumed favorite.
Grilli opened the 2013 season in his new role as the Pirates closer. Prior to 2013, he had accumulated 5 career saves spanning 10 seasons.
After the end of April in the 2013 season, Jason Grilli was named the DHL Delivery Man of the Month. He finished April 2013 with 12 game appearances, a superb 0.82 ERA and 10 Saves within 10 save opportunities through 11.0 innings of work. Grilli became just the second Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher to save 10 games in the month of April since Mike Williams in 2002. Jason Grilli tied Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles, Sergio Romo of the San Francisco Giants and Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees for the most saves in the MLB that month.
Grilli was named to the 2013 National League All-Star team, and pitched the 9th inning of the 2013 MLB All-Star Game. After giving up a leadoff triple to Prince Fielder, he retired the next three batters for a scoreless inning. On July 22, Grilli became the first Pirate since 1992 to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated; in that night's game, he injured his forearm and was placed on the 15-day DL, another victim of the magazine's cover jinx. His replacement at the closer position was Mark Melancon. Grilli was activated from the DL on September 3, resuming his role as closer. He helped the Pirates to the 2013 playoffs, the team's first postseason appearance since 1992. Grilli pitched a scoreless 9th inning in the Pirates win over the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 National League Wild Card Game. He appeared in 3 games in the Pirates series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 National League Division Series. Grilli has not had a run charged against him in 9 career playoff appearances spanning 6.1 innings.
In his 54 appearances in 2013, Grilli went 0-2 with a 2.70 ERA going 33-35 in save opportunities, striking out 74 in 50 innings.
Grilli is the son of former major league pitcher Steve Grilli, who pitched for parts of four seasons in the late 1970s, including three with the Detroit Tigers. Jason was born in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak following his father's second season with the Tigers. His father is also known for being the losing pitcher for the Rochester Red Wings in the longest professional baseball game on June 23, 1981. Jason has worn number 49 in honor of his father, and the two still talk after every game in which Jason makes an appearance.
Grilli runs a company called Perfect Pitch Marketing which sells videophones and other consumer telecommunications equipment through Rochester-based 5LINX. Perfect Pitch Marketing offers a full range of online marketing services with a focus on helping businesses increase their SEO rankings. The company also offers services in mobile and social media marketing.
- "Marlins Send Ex-hero Hernandez To Giants". July 25, 1999.
- "White Sox take four in Rule 5". December 15, 2003.
- "White Sox designate pitcher Jason Grilli for assignment". January 28, 2005.
- Morosi, Jon Paul (February 29). "Tigers Jason Grilli always ready to pitch in; Leyland likes his resilient arm". Detroit Free Press.
- "Fans want to see Grilli put out fires; Reliever says numbers don't always tell story". Grand Rapids Press. March 15, 2008. p. D6.
- "Tigers trade Jason Grilli to Colorado". Detroit Free Press. April 30, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.[dead link]
- Thomas Harding (January 14, 2009). "Grilli proud to represent Italy at Classic". MLB.com. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- "Rockies trade RHP Jason Grilli to Texas". June 9, 2009.
- Jason Beck (December 2, 2009). "Indians to give Grilli a Minors deal". MLB.com. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Zolecki, Todd. "Grilli, Phillies work out Minor League contract". MLB.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- Biertempfel, Rob. "Pirates close to picking up reliever Grilli". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- Brink, Bill. "Pirates sign free agent pitcher Jason Grilli". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- "Jason Grill". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "MLB Player Pitching Stats – As Reliever – 2012". ESPN. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- "Pirates sign free agent RHP Jason Grilli". December 12, 2012.
- "Jason Grilli gets moment in spotlight during Fox broadcast of MLB All-Star Game". The Post-Standard. Syracuse.com. July 16, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "Steve Grilli Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
- The Official Site of The Detroit Tigers: News: Notes: Comerica packing them in
- Jimmy Scott (January 5, 2009). "Jimmy Scott's High & Tight: The Jason Grilli Interview". Jimmyscottshighandtight.com. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Jason Grilli on Twitter