"[Grilli] is a grinder," Braves left fielder Jonny Gomes said. "The guy is a nomad who has been around. Everything he is about is about hard work and health. That is what has got him here. We just have to hope for the best."
When Drew Stubbs opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a grounder to first baseman Chris Johnson, Grilli took a few strides toward first base before crumpling to the ground in obvious pain.
"I was about to throw him the ball and I saw the look on his face as he was going down," Johnson said. "I was like, 'Oh man, that's not good at all. He just started screaming. It looked pretty darn painful."
Shortly after racing on the field to attend to Grilli as he remained on the ground writhing in pain, Braves head athletic trainer Jeff Porter signaled for the Rockies to bring a cart on the field.
Even after Stubbs ended up scoring the winning run on a Carlos Gonzalez bloop single that fell between Andrelton Simmons and Cameron Maybin in shallow center field, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said his thoughts were with Grilli.
"Him laying on the ground out there like that, it didn't look good," the Braves skipper said. "You could see what kind of pain he was feeling as he was out there on the field."
According to mayoclinic.org, "surgery is often the best option to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. For many people, however, nonsurgical treatment works just as well." It was not immediately known what course of treatment Grilli would undergo.
This unfortunate development literally added injury to insult for the Braves, who have lost four straight games. They will now spend the rest of the season without a closer who had converted 24 of his 26 save opportunities, and approach the non-waiver Trade Deadline without what might have been their best trade chip.
Since assuming the closer's role when Craig Kimbrel was traded the day before Opening Day, Grilli had become the strong leader Atlanta's bullpen needed. Jim Johnson will likely now handle the closing duties, but he might now also stand as the Braves' most attractive trade piece leading into the Trade Deadline.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.