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Friday, May 2, 2014
As Veras rehabs, Cubs improvise at closer

By Jesse Rogers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer is optimistic his team can develop a closer as the one they signed in the offseason, veteran Jose Veras, tries to find his game.

Jose Veras
Injured Cubs reliever Jose Veras has 10 walks in 5 2/3 innings this season.
"That's been a frustrating one, and I think kind of shows you the perils of free agency a little bit," Hoyer said before the Cubs played the Cardinals on Friday. "I think (Veras) walked 13 (14) guys as a closer in 43 innings with the (Houston) Astros last year. He had no walks last year in the postseason with the (Detroit) Tigers and he comes here and doesn't throw strikes."

Veras went on the disabled list earlier this week after walking 10 batters in 5 2/3 innings pitched last month. He also hit three batters as his off-speed pitches, in particular, were all over the place.

"I'm hoping it was physical, maybe a little bit mechanical and he can get on track," Hoyer said. "It wasn't that long ago that the Tigers were leaning on him to get their most important outs. Obviously, he hasn't been able to do that."

Veras will start pitching at Double-A Tennessee as he recovers from an oblique injury. In the meantime the Cubs will try to develop a closer from within. It was assumed Pedro Strop would get that role but lately Hector Rondon has gotten the chances.

"It can be hard to sign a guy and bring him into a situation that he's not familiar with," Hoyer said. "Ideally, we would develop a closer from one of these guys that we have on our roster. We have some guys that have the stuff and make-up to do it and hopefully it will click with one."

Rondon has one save with a 0.68 ERA this season.