Jason Grilli aiming to rejoin Pirates in September

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Jason Grilli’s feel-good season took an unfortunate turn last month when he was diagnosed with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm, but he’s hoping that the story has a happy ending.

James Santelli of Pirates Prospects was told by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle that Grilli is making “good progress” and will throw from a distance of 90-100 feet today and 120 feet when the team gets to San Diego. Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that he could begin throwing from a slope or possibly the mound early next week. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Pirates around when rosters expand on September 1.

Grilli has enjoyed a renaissance late in his career, posting a 2.34 ERA, 30 saves and a 66/10 K/BB ratio over 42 1/3 innings this season. The 36-year-old was named to the National League All-Star team last month. While he has been missed in the Pirates’ bullpen, Mark Melancon has filled in nicely as the closer by going 5-for-6 in save opportunities.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. named ALCS MVP

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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series after his club punched its ticket to the World Series on Thursday night against the Astros.

Coincidentally, the Astros’ Game 5 starter Justin Verlander was ALCS MVP last year en route to a championship.

Bradley went 0-for-3 with a walk in Thursday’s Game 5, but he hit a three-run double in Game 2, a grand slam in Game 3, and a go-ahead two-run home run in Game 4. That’s nine RBI and three extra-base hits across five games. He also drew four walks.

Though Bradley had a solid regular season, he was not near the top of the list most people would’ve expected to win ALCS MVP heading into the series. During the season, he hit .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases in 535 plate appearances.