Pirates' reliever Grilli enjoying breakout season at 35

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PITTSBURGH (AP) (AP)ong> - Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jason Grilli insists he's not throwing any differently than he has at any point in his nomadic career.

Maybe, but the results are certainly different.

The 35-year-old setup man has been the linchpin for one of baseball's better bullpens. Working almost exclusively in the eighth inning, Grilli is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 21 games while developing into a strikeout pitcher.

Grilli has fanned at least one batter in all but one of his appearances this season, and his strikeouts per nine innings ratio is a staggering 15.8, nearly six above his career average. It's heady territory for a player the Pirates claimed off the scrap heap last season.

The former first-round pick says he believes his best days are ahead of him and says being humbled as a young player was a gift.