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Grilli on DL with forearm strain, to undergo more tests

Downcast after injury, closer upbeat as he heads to Pittsburgh; Black fills 'pen spot

WASHINGTON -- Closer Jason Grilli was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday by the Pirates, with what for the time being is classified as a "right forearm strain."

Grilli departed early afternoon for Pittsburgh, where he will undergo further medical tests to determine the source of the pain that forced his ouster from Monday night's game with the Nationals.

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"He'll be seen by our doctors, so we'll get a more thorough evaluation. The initial read was that he'll be down at last 10 days, so the DL became a no-brainer," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "Until we get a more thorough read, it makes no sense for us to speculate on what it is or how long he'll be down."

With two outs in the ninth inning Monday, Grilli had thrown one pitch to Washington pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi before stalking around the mound in pain, and soon after he walked disconsolately off the field.

He was visibly, and understandably, depressed in the Pirates' post-victory clubhouse. By all accounts, he had gotten over the initial shock and was back to his old gregarious self by the time he bid so-long to teammates Tuesday.

"He talked to us, told us to keep going," Andrew McCutchen said. "He didn't want us to be down. It was good to see him in a good mood, feeling better than he was [Monday] night."

"He needed some time. I think anybody would have. He got to see a number of teammates before he left," said manager Clint Hurdle, "and that was good for everybody. He told me, 'I just want to stay on the wave,' and I told him, 'We'll leave a light on for you.'"

Erstwhile setup man Mark Melancon, a fellow All-Star whose 0.97 ERA is the lowest among NL relievers, takes over closing duties, a role he filled for the Astros in 2011.

Meanwhile, Vic Black has been called up from Indianapolis to occupy the vacant bullpen seat. The 25-year-old right-hander will be making his Major League debut after posting a 2.31 ERA along with 15 saves for Indianapolis, where he had 51 strikeouts in 35 innings.

Hurdle called Black "another power arm. He's got a live fastball, a big-time breaking ball."

Black was a first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, maintaining the Pirates clubhouse's population of former top Draft picks, which had included Grilli.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jason Grilli