Pirates place closer Jason Grilli on the DL with a strained left oblique [Update: Not yet!]

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Via the official Pirates Twitter, the club has placed closer Jason Grilli on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. They recalled Jared Hughes to take Grilli’s place on the 25-man roster. The DL stint is retroactive to April 21.

Grilli allowed runs in his two relief appearances prior to the injury, both a result of Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. In the top of the ninth on April 19, Braun hit a two-run home run off of Grilli to put the Brewers ahead 8-7. On April 20, Braun tied the game in the ninth with a solo home run off of Grilli. The right-hander hadn’t pitched since then.

Mark Melancon is expected to fill in for Grilli in save situations. The 29-year-old right-hander saved 20 games for the Astros in 2011 and 16 games for the Pirates last season.

Update (8:20 PM): Rob Biertempfel has this interesting update:

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.