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Jason Grilli holds autograph session after minor league rehab appearance (pics)


On Monday, Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli made a rehab appearance for the team’s Double-A outfit, the Altoona Curve. Grilli, on the disabled list since suffering a right forearm injury all the way back on July 22, reportedly is nearing a return to the big league ball club.

Exactly what role Grilli will fill remains to be seen according to Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, the 36-year-old veteran made a lot of friends by holding an impromptu autograph session  following his one-inning rehab appearance.

Setting up shop at a picnic table in the Peoples Natural Gas Field concourse, Grilli held court for over an hour, signing autographs and posing for photos with thrilled fans.

The best part? The team said they had not part in it. Grilli decided to do it on his own.

Once big league players on rehab assignments get their work in, it isn’t surprising for them to “go in and take a shower, get dressed and leave the ballpark before the game is finished,” according to a report in the Altoona Mirror. Not so for Grilli, who understands that it’s the fans who allow him to pitch for a living.

“I know there’s a lot of fans that came out to support me and want me back in Pittsburgh, so it’s just a way to pay back dividends to the fans,” Grilli said.

“Without the fans, there’s not all the noise and the support that gets us adrenalized, and there’s really no business of baseball,” he said. “So they’re a part of it. I know that, so I try to include them and make them feel like what’s going on in Pittsburgh is really special. All the way out here in Altoona everybody’s sensing that and feeling that, so they’re a part of it, too.”

The Curve and local reporter Amy Gill posted photos to Twitter of Grilli interacting with fans and signing autographs.

Said 9-year-old Brenden Grimminger, was was one of the lucky fans to land an autograph, about his unexpected encounter with the MLB star. “It was a really cool experience. I’ve always wanted an autograph by Jason Grilli.”

And without the classy move by a class act that is Jason Grilli, the kid likely never would have gotten the chance.

[H/T Sporting News]