Sveum names Gregg the Cubs' closer
May, 8, 2013
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Kevin Gregg was declared the Chicago Cubs closer after his performance versus the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night, when he earned his fifth save in as many chances.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesKevin Gregg has converted his last five save opportunities.
"Gregg is our closer," manager Dale Sveum said before Wednesday's game. "That's pretty much the way it is right now. He's obviously earned it. And now there is a bigger sample out there to know that."
Gregg took it in stride.
""It sounds good to me, but you have to stay even-keeled on everything," he said. "It is exciting. That is what you play the game for. Closing is a position I enjoy being in. I look forward to it."
Gregg lost the closer's role the last time he was with the Cubs, so he understands the circumstances of the position.
"Hey, that happened, but what good does it do to complain is the way I look at it," he said. "This game is a business. You're a product on the field, so if you underperform you will be treated accordingly. I play it game to game and take it from there."
"I am more experienced, learning as I get older. You start to realize it is not about throwing hard anymore. It is about pitching and locating a ball and keeping the defense involved from pitch to pitch."
Previously, Sveum said he would use a closer-by-committee strategy, but it became apparent Gregg was the man after he earned saves in four consecutive games in late April. Gregg was picked up off waivers from the Dodgers early in the season.
"It was a great pickup and obviously he has run with it," Sveum said. "He's a veteran guy that doesn't panic. As I've said before, those last three outs aren't made for everybody."
Gregg has yet to give up a run this year, and his last four saves have come in 1-2-3 fashion. That's a far cry from early in the season when Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa struggled in the closer role. Fujikawa is due back from a forearm injury this weekend when the Cubs play in Washington, but he won't resume any closer duties.
"We'll probably get him in and get him acclimated out there and see how he's doing on the mound in a big league atmosphere," Sveum said.
Marmol pitched in the seventh and eighth inning on Tuesday night, preserving a one-run lead before Gregg finished the game.
"Maybe he isn't the closer right now, but he is a good pitcher," Gregg said. "We saw it last night in a one-run game. He was able to buckle down and get through an important part of their lineup. I think he has a lot of good pitches in him and he is a good competitor."
Bruce Levine contributed to this story.