Jason Grilli's first season as a closer could hardly have gotten off to a better start, as the Pirates right-hander was selected on Friday as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for April. The award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher of the month, as voted on by a panel from MLB.
In 12 April appearances, Grilli converted all 10 of his save opportunities to tie for the Major League lead, posting a 0.82 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and .132 opponents' average. He struck out 17 while walking four and giving up five hits.
In his first 10 Major League seasons, Grilli totaled five saves. The Pirates handed the 36-year-old the reins to the closer's job this year when they dealt Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox. He responded by becoming the second Pirates pitcher to save 10 games in April, joining Mike Williams, who did so in 2002.
Grilli, who recorded saves on back-to-back days four times, is the third Pirates hurler to win a Delivery Man of the Month Award, joining Hanrahan (June 2011) and Jose Mesa (April 2005).
Grilli has shown no signs of letting up in May, pitching a scoreless inning for his 11th save on Wednesday against the Brewers to drop his ERA to 0.75.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.