After beginning the 2011 season in the Phillies' Minor League system, Grilli was granted his release on July 19 so that he could sign with Pittsburgh two days later. He went on to make 28 appearances and post a 2.48 ERA with the Pirates. Grilli, 35, struck out 37 and walked 15 in those 32 2/3 innings.
The right-hander quickly worked his way into a setup role and was scored upon just twice in his final 19 appearances.
Grilli is likely to be considered for a setup role again in 2012, particularly with Jose Veras now gone and the Pirates unsure of whether Evan Meek will bounce back to his 2010 form. This next year will be Grilli's 10th in the big leagues. He has pitched for six different teams.
This was to be Grilli's last year of arbitration eligibility, though this agreement eliminates the possibility of Grilli taking the Pirates to an arbitration hearing. Grilli is slated to become a free agent after the 2012 season.