In Hanrahan's absence, closer not certain

In Hanrahan's absence, closer not certain

PITTSBURGH -- Manager Clint Hurdle would not commit pregame to who would be his closer during the absence of Joel Hanrahan, who has left the club for three days to honor and attend funeral services for his grandmother.

"Watch the game. There will be somebody up in the ninth inning if we have the lead," said Hurdle, who in all sincerity himself did not yet know who the mystery closer might be.

That was because he planned to strategize matchups against the Nationals, so the choice depended on the Washington hitters lined up for the ninth.

"It can be [Juan] Cruz or [Jason] Grilli," Hurdle said.

Earlier this season, while Hanrahan was resting a strained hamstring, Cruz took care of the job and converted consecutive save opportunities in Arizona. Those were the veteran righty setup man's fourth and fifth career saves.

Grilli has even less experience in the role, with a total of three saves in 211 career relief appearances.