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Sunday, June 30, 2013
Blake Parker finishes it off well for Cubs

By Taylor Soper

SEATTLE -- If Kevin Gregg is traded away before July 31, Blake Parker could very well be his replacement for the Chicago Cubs.

Parker was thrown into the fire during Saturday's 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners and delivered like a veteran. The 28-year-old right-hander retired the side in the 11th inning to secure the victory for Chicago and looked comfortable in a closing role.

"He showed me a lot today," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It's a nice asset to know that he wasn't a deer in the headlights in that situation in the big leagues."

Parker, who earned his first career save, says he enjoys pitching in close games like Saturday's. Though he had tossed 31 pitches and given up the game-winning hit Friday, Sveum still went with him again in another pressure-packed situation Saturday.

"I'm still going through that transition between the big leagues and Triple-A, being ready everyday no matter if you threw 30 to 40 pitches the night before," Parker, who was called up June 1, said. "You're expected to be able to pitch every day, and that's the approach I took today. I got myself ready to pitch and was ready to go when my number was called."

Meanwhile, Gregg has been on point lately but had his saves streak snapped at 12 after giving up a tying single to Endy Chavez in the ninth inning.

Gregg also was impressed with Parker.

"He did an outstanding job," Gregg said. "He was able to throw strikes and had a quality performance. A very good performance from him."

Before Saturday's matchup, Sveum spoke about Parker potentially taking Gregg's role in the case that Gregg is dealt.

"We'd maybe look at Blake because of what he's done in Triple-A, but, obviously, we've got to use someone," Sveum said. "It's kind of a wait-and-see situation."

If Parker's the guy, he'll look to help a struggling Chicago bullpen that has blown 16 games in 32 chances.

"You want to go out and compete every day and show them, at least in your own mind, that you're ready to be an every-day guy," Parker said. "I just want to go out there and give it my best effort. Everything else will take care of itself."