News Column

Chicago Cubs Like Gregg as Closer

May 8, 2013

Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum officially dubbed Kevin Gregg his closer Wednesday, making Gregg the third pitcher to hold the job since opening day.

Sveum has spent the last couple weeks saying his relievers perform better if they don't know their roles. But before Wednesday's game against St. Louis, he was asked again if Gregg was the closer.

"Seems to be," he replied.

Carlos Marmol replaced Gregg as the Cubs' closer late in the 2009 season under Lou Piniella. Marmol gave way to Kyuji Fujikawa after six games this season, and Sveum went with a committee of closers after Fujikawa went on the disabled list with a right forearm strain on April 13.

Sveum said Fujikawa must get "acclimated" in the bullpen when he returns from the DL on Friday in Washington.

"Gregg is our closer, that's pretty much the way it is right now," he said. "He's pretty much earned it. There's a bigger sample (size) out there now to know that."

Of course, the next question is how long Gregg will remain a Cub, since the team can obviously flip him for prospects at the trading deadline, as they did last year with starters Paul Maholm and Ryan Dempster,

"I'm not worried about that," Gregg said. "I don't think about it that way. I'm here now and that's all I can control. The way they handle that going forward, that's up to Theo (Epstein) and those guys. But I'm excited to be here, to be part of this team and I will be until I'm told otherwise."

Gregg is 5-for-5 in save opportunities and has eight straight scoreless outings since joining the Cubs on April 15. If he continues to pitch like this, there's little doubt some contender will be interested.

"Well, I hope we can contend," he said. "We've had a lot of games where we've been on the wrong end of close games. If that thing switches around a little bit, we're in a whole different spot right now."


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