September 30, 2003
Days after having one lefthander withdraw from its roster, USA Baseball’s Olympic qualifying team added a lefty Tuesday with the invitation of Pirates farmhand John Grabow.
Grabow, 24, reached the big leagues in September for the first time and struck out nine in five innings of work. The hard-throwing lefthander, switched to the bullpen this season by the Pirates, went a combined 6-3, 3.68 this season between Double-A Altoona (6-1, 3.36 in 83 innings) and Triple-A Nashville (0-2, 4.74 in 25 innings). A third-round pick in 1997 out of San Gabriel (Calif.) High, Grabow wasn’t ranked in the Pirates top 30 last offseason but has ranked as high as third on the list in the past. He’s primarily a fastball-changeup pitcher who throws in the 90-92 mph range when he’s at his best.
Grabow is the 31st member of the roster, which is expected to be at 32 when the team convenes Friday in the Arizona Fall League. Grabow will compete for a job as a lefthanded setup man, a field that had narrowed when Mariners lefty Bobby Madritsch declined his invitation last week.