SAN FRANCISCO -- Clint Hurdle had spent mere seconds dealing with Wandy Rodriguez's gloomy turn of events, and the manager clearly was in the mood for some better news.
So he injected into his Thursday pregame media session, "Grilli threw today ..."
Jason Grilli indeed had an encouraging 25-pitch session in the Pirates' AT&T Park bullpen, his first time back on the mound since straining a tendon in his right forearm exactly a month earlier, on July 22 in Washington.
"No pain. Mixed in a few breaking pitches," Grilli said. "Now it's just fine-tuning and getting the strength back to be game-ready, and I think that'll happen before the end of the month."
Grilli's workout drew a large crowd of Buccos onlookers, with everyone walking away from it pleased.
"It was a good step in the right direction," pitching coach Ray Searage said.
"Went very well; another good day for Jason," said Hurdle, who expected Grilli's next step to be either another bullpen session or a simulated game facing hitters for the first time.
Being "game-ready" before September would not mean Grilli's return to The Shark Tank, but his ability to go on the rehab assignment Hurdle regards important.
"I absolutely think he would want to go out there and test it out in that type of environment, rather than jump right into a game," Hurdle said.
Grilli led the National League in saves when he was injured. A month later, his 30 saves are still tied for fifth in the league.
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.