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Sports Then and Now

Grilli Thrilled To Pitch Close to Home After Signing With Tribe

Posted on December 02, 2009 by Todd Civin
Grilli in 2008 photo while pitching for the Detroit Tigers

Grilli in 2008 photo while pitching for the Detroit Tigers

Though I confess that I already knew, but was sworn to secrecy, I’m excited to officially announce the signing of right-hander Jason Grilli to a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians with a big-league invitation to spring training.

Grilli will be given the opportunity to compete for a spot in the bullpen. If he makes the big league club, he’ll earn $800,000.

Grilli, who has become a close friend and confidant through his work with the award winning children’s book, A Glove of Their Own, remained tight lipped about who he had officially signed with as a respect to his future employer. He had let a few in his inner circle know that he had signed and had Fed-exed his contract out on Sunday.

“I felt that that was the class way to handle things despite the fact that everyone wanted to know.”

In a call just moments ago, Grilli informed me that he had one other serious suitor, but is excited about his decision to accept a contract with the Indians.

“We play only 5 1/2 hours from my home in Upstate New York and my wife is absolutely thrilled”, explains Grilli who owns and operates Perfect Pitch Marketing when not toeing the rubber. “Right now, I’m working out hard and trying to get ready for the season.”

Grilli sees the Indians pen as being wide open and loves the thought of joining a staff that includes Kerry Wood at the back end of the pen. In 2009, the Indians had the third worst bullpen ERA in the AL with a 4.66 ERA.

The 33-year-old righthander, pitched with both the Rockies and Rangers last season and was a combined 2-3 with one save, seven holds and a 5.32 ERA. His AL numbers with the Rangers were  2-2 with a 4.78, numbers that diminished with sporadic use out of coach Mike Maddux’ bullpen.

Grilli struck out 49, walked 27 and allowed 50 hits in 45 2/3 innings.

Grilli spending time with fans

Grilli spending time with fans

His career numbers over eight big league seasons are 18-18 with two saves and a 4.74 ERA in 238 appearances, with 16 starts and 222 relief appearances for the Marlins, White Sox, Tigers, Rockies and Rangers.

Following his high school career at Baker High School in Baldwinville, NY, Grilli attended Seton Hall University from 1995-1997.

While at Seton Hall, Grilli once struck out 18 batters in a game to break Charles Nagy’s Big East record. Following his college career he was drafted in the first round, fourth overall by the San Francisco Giants.

His father, Steve Grilli, pitched four major league seasons for the Tigers and Blue Jays and posted a 4-3 record with a 4.51 lifetime ERA.

Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Sports, Then and Now, and Seamheads. He is a supporter of A Glove of Their Own, the award-winning children’s story that teaches paying it forward through baseball.

The Rocky Mountain Deaf School is supported by Jason Grilli and is the most recent non-profit organization to join the A Glove of Their Own team and will earn $3 from each sale of the book purchased using the donor code RMD 281 Rocky Mountain Deaf School .

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