MIAMI -- Though the diagnosis Jason Grilli received Friday qualified as good news, the Pirates must do without their All-Star closer for the next month or two.
Grilli has a flexor strain in his right arm, the team announced Friday, and will not need surgery. The Pirates won't have a more concrete timetable for his potential return until Grilli is re-examined after 10 to 14 days of rest, but they said the usual recovery time for this injury is four to eight weeks.
Grilli received a second opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews after meeting with team doctors.
"He wanted to make sure that he was able to reach out and get looked at by the people he felt comfortable seeing and he needed to see," manager Clint Hurdle said.
In the ninth inning of the win Monday night against the Washington Nationals, Grilli appeared in pain after a pitch and summoned the training staff from the dugout. He left the game after a brief consultation. Grilli had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in 2002.
Grilli made his first All-Star team at 36 and still was tied for the National League lead with 30 saves going into game sFriday.
"I'm more relieved for him," Hurdle said. "Obviously, our team's going to be happy that there's a chance we can get him back."
The closing duties fall to Mark Melancon, who had an exceptional first half as a setup man. Melancon saved 20 games for the Houston Astros in 2011 and said he was glad to get the chance to save games, but not about the way it came to pass.
"Nobody wants to see that especially us in the shark tank," Melancon said. "Hopefully, he'll be back sooner than expected.
"He'll still be with us in the [bullpen]. I talked to him [Thursday] night, and he feels guilty for not being with us. We understand completely. We just want him to get healthy and get back as soon as possible."
Hurdle said he thought the Pirates would mix and match their relievers in the eighth and noted that Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson could receive more opportunities there.
"We'll see how the game plays, it could be more of a committee setup, whether it's matchups or it's history or a combination of the two," Hurdle said. "Maybe somebody will grab the ball and run. I would imagine we'll probably continue to use the guys collectively. We're not going to pinpoint anybody, he's got the seventh, he's got the eighth."
The bullpen ranks second in baseball with a 2.91 ERA. It still remains among the units with the most innings pitched, but the appearances have stabilized somewhat since the beginning of July.
"We have some unbelievable arms and talent in the bullpen," Melancon said. "That's not a worry. It's always nice to have that extra All-Star arm in the [bullpen]."
The Pirates replaced Grilli on the roster with right-hander Vic Black, who made his major league debut Thursday against the Nationals. Grilli went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.