Future in doubt for Jason Grilli 

July, 23, 2013

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli entered Monday as the No. 2 closer on the ESPN Player Rater, but when the day ended he had left his save opportunity with a few more runs allowed and a sore forearm, with his future in doubt and with plenty of worried fantasy owners scurrying to see if setup man Mark Melancon was available in their leagues. Grilli, 36 and an All-Star, has a 2.34 ERA and 0.92 WHIP this season, and an NL-leading 30 saves, but today the concern is that he might be out for a while.

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Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsThe Pirates hope Jason Grilli's forearm injury is not as bad as it looked.

The first thing fantasy owners should do, rather than complaining about their plight -- you could own Ryan Braun and Matt Garza also in an NL-only league, after all -- is to grab Melancon off your waiver wire, not Vin Mazzaro, who actually saved Monday’s win over the Washington Nationals. Melancon is having a tremendous season, better even than Grilli, but wasn’t available Monday after throwing Saturday and Sunday. Melancon boasts a 0.97 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, he has closing experience, and he’s obviously turned his career around after last year’s struggles with the Boston Red Sox. Mazzaro is having his own fine season, but don’t get too excited. If Grilli needs to miss time -- and that’s not official yet -- then Melancon is clearly next in line.