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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Former closer shut down

By Bruce Levine

Chicago Cubs right-handed pitcher Kevin Gregg is done for the season, manager Lou Piniella said in his pregame news conference Tuesday.

The Cubs reliever will miss the rest of the season with cracked cartilage on the left side of his rib cage. Doctors told him that within two weeks, the cartilage will have recovered and he'll be OK to pitch again.

Gregg admitted that some of his ineffectiveness as the team's closer this season could have been from fatigue that led him to lose his closer's role. The beginning of the end for Gregg as the team's closer occurred Aug. 1 and 2, when he blew back-to-back games against the Florida Marlins, his former team.

"Up until we made that change, I think I had more games and more innings than any other closer in the game," Gregg said. "I told Lou I'd take the ball anytime they needed me to take it. Was I 100 percent every time I went out there? No I wasn't. It's easy to sit back and wait until you're 100 percent. That's not really helping the team when you do that, I don't think. "

Gregg was actually leading the National League in save percentage before that disastrous weekend in Florida.

Gregg would like to come back to the Cubs next season, although it's unknown at this time if he's in the team's plans next year.

"I like Chicago, I think it's a great place," Gregg said. "I think it's a team that wants to win, and an organization that wants to win."

Just from my own observations, nobody has more guts than Gregg, who has the ability to pitch hurt. Gregg also pitched with a bad knee last season before having surgery on it in the offseason.