Pirates closer Jason Grilli has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a strained oblique, but the right-hander deemed himself “ready” to return after throwing 24 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Travis Sawchik reports.
Grilli, of course, won’t just be activated like that; he’ll have to make a handful of rehab appearances, but if he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he could rejoin his teammates before the month of May expires.
Grilli blew two consecutive saves against the Brewers — both due to Ryan Braun homering — before the Pirates shut him down. In his absence, Mark Melancon has been handling closing duties and has done a great job, notching four of five saves with a 1.13 ERA and a 5/0 K/BB ratio in eight innings in his new role.
It’s unclear if the Pirates plan to reinsert Grilli into his previous role or wean him back into closing.
In today’s column for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, according to a rival executive. Doing so would allow the Phillies to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and open up a spot in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper, with whom the Phillies have been commonly connected.
Santana, 32, is coming off of a mediocre season in which he hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 679 plate appearances. His 1.7 WAR, per Baseball Reference, was his lowest output since 2015. He has $35 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies would presumably eat a significant portion of that $35 million in order to make a trade work.
If the Phillies can’t move Santana but still end up signing Harper, Santana could share third base with Maikel Franco and first with Hoskins. Right now, the Phillies have a glut of outfielders with Hoskins, Odúbel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Hoskins rated among the worst outfielders defensively in 2018, so moving him back to first base is likely one of the Phillies’ bigger priorities.