Grilli gets a rest after tough time vs. D-backs

Grilli gets a rest after tough time vs. D-backs

PITTSBURGH -- In the aftermath of his most ineffective outing of the season, Tuesday night's no-out, four-run dud, Jason Grilli planned to "wash it away and come back tomorrow."

He'll have to wait another day. Manager Clint Hurdle classified Grilli as unavailable for Wednesday's rematch with Arizona after the reliever had appeared in the first two games of the series.

The veteran Grilli has been a marvel as Joel Hanrahan's primary setup man, but 44 games of hard, crucial pitches are taking a natural, if temporary, toll on his 35-year-old arm.

"His velocity had dropped to 92 [mph] last week, but after a couple of days off, it spiked back up," said Hurdle. "He's pitched high-leverage innings from the start to now, and that can wear on a reliever from time to time. You notice it with all relievers. It's just about managing the workload."

In the season's first half, Grilli racked up 55 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings. Tuesday's appearance was his third in eight second-half appearances without a strikeout.

With the unavailability of both Grilli and Juan Cruz, who shared eighth-inning duties but is on the disabled list recovering from inflammation in his shoulder, setup duties fall to newcomer Chad Qualls.

"He's a guy we can plug in," Hurdle said of Qualls, who closed for the D-backs in 2009 and 2010. "He gives us versatility in different roles because of the experience factor."