SAN FRANCISCO -- The Chicago Cubs' pitching situation could be undergoing an overhaul. Closer Kevin Gregg's contract expires at the end of the season, which automatically makes him tradeable according to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
Reliever Pedro Strop's fiery personality and splendid pitching during Saturday's 1-0 Cubs win over the Giants might make Gregg even more expendable. Strop got the win after loading the bases with no outs by making bad decisions to a pair of bunt hits. He then danced out of trouble, inducing two ground-ball outs before striking out the power-hitting Hunter Pence.
Strop was all about the fist pump after getting out of the inning unscathed.
"He has pitched at a high level at the end of the game," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday morning. "That power breaking ball, you can't substitute that kind of stuff."
Strop also might have a closer's mentality
"I think he has had a lot of fun. His makeup, he's a guy who can handle that situation," Sveum said.
Also, hard-throwing lefty Jake Arrieta, who will pitch Tuesday on the back end of a doubleheader at Wrigley against the Brewers, could find himself as a key pitcher for Chicago in the last two months. Two days ago, Arrieta went 6 2/3, struck out eight and allowed one run in Iowa.
Arrieta might have to fight Chris Rusin, who pitched seven innings of scoreless ball Saturday.
"Usually when you perform you don't lose your job," Sveum said of Rusin. "No doubt he has changed a lot of minds moving forward."
Ring master: Former Giant Nate Schierholtz said the Giants delivered his 2012 World Series ring to him in the beginning of July when the Cubs visited Oakland to play the A's. Schierholtz, who grew up in the Bay Area, took the ring and locked it in the bank, where he keeps the 2010 ring he won with San Francisco.
Schierholtz, who has been with three teams in the last calendar year, wants a safe haven for his hard-earned jewelry.
"We've been living in apartments," said Schierholtz, who doesn't want the rings stolen while he’s away.
Notes: Sveum said right-hander Scott Baker could join the big club before the season is done. Baker is rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery and was recently promoted from Single-A Kane County to high Single-A Daytona. ... The Giants were taking infield Sunday morning in a highly unusual move this late in the season, particularly in a day game after a night game. The Giants lead the Major Leagues in errors. … The Cubs clubhouse erupted in cheers after former teammate Alfonso Soriano belted a home run against Rays pitcher Matt Moore. The Yankees-Rays game was on the big screen TV. "By-Ya!" one of the players yelled.