Jason Grilli awaits next step in rehabilitation

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MILWAUKEE — Jason Grilli’s two-inning simulated game went well Wednesday, but the next step in the closer’s rehabilitation remains unclear.

Grilli, on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique, threw two 12-pitch innings before the Pirates’ game Wednesday night at Miller Park. He reported no pain in the oblique and used all his pitches.

“He felt very good afterwards,” manager Clint Hurdle said.

Hurdle said he had not discussed Grilli’s next step with pitching coach Ray Searage or general manager Neal Huntington. Grilli offered the Pirates his thoughts, he said, but deferred to the coaching staff and front office.

“I’ve already kind of had some discussions with them, but we’ll continue the conversation,” Grilli said.

Grilli went on the DL at the end of April. The Pirates can activate him any time. Mark Melancon has four saves and one blown save while serving as closer in Grilli’s absence.

Other injuries

Russell Martin took batting practice Wednesday, but needs to return to running and catching before he can come off the DL, where he has been since late April because of a strained left hamstring.

“Swinging at breaking balls today helped because there’s some torque involved there,” Hurdle said. “We’ll continue to challenge him a little bit more every day. He feels very good. There’s a little bit more to be done.”

Hurdle said he had not discussed a potential rehabilitation assignment with Martin.

“I’m a fan of [rehab assignments],” Hurdle said. “That doesn’t mean that it always happens. We’ll see where it takes itself. There are players that want to go. There’s a lot of players that don’t want to go. I think every player understands why you do it.”

Though Hurdle keeps a clock on how long they can carry an injured player who might or might not need the DL, he said, Starling Marte has not yet reached that point. Marte was not in the starting lineup for the third consecutive game Wednesday because of lower back tightness, but entered the game and came up with a two-run double in the ninth.

Gomez drops appeal

Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez dropped his appeal of the three-game suspension Major League Baseball gave him for his role in the April 20 fight against the Pirates. Gomez started serving his suspension Wednesday and will miss the series finale this afternoon, too.

Gomez left the game Tuesday night due to tightness in his lower back and was not in the lineup Wednesday before the Brewers announced he had dropped his appeal. MLB had heard that appeal, but had not handed down a ruling.

Spring training changes

The Pirates announced plans to rebuild the clubhouse at McKechnie Field, their spring-training home, and add a new fitness center to their Pirate City minor league facility.

“It definitely will ramp up the strength and conditioning portion, the training portion,” Hurdle said. “It’s just time.”

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.

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