7/29 Gregg, Ironman Hill & quick hits
The one Cubs reliever who did not pitch Monday and Tuesday was Kevin Gregg. The right-hander is fine; he had pitched in seven of the team’s first 10 games since the All-Star break.
“I think [Lou Piniella] was trying to give me a day off,” Gregg said. “It was kind of weird having a day off, actually.”
Gregg has saved three of the last six games, and picked up save No. 21 on Sunday against the Reds. This is his third consecutive 20-save season and he’s the first Cubs closer to total 20 saves in his first season with the Cubs since LaTroy Hawkins had 25 in 2004.
There are no histrionics with Gregg. He’s very even keel.
“You never want to get too high, you never want to get too low,” he said. “Our job is to get people out. You get people out, and you walk off the field. That’s how I’ve always looked at it. That’s why I go up there, to get people out. I’m not going to celebrate that. I’m also not going to beat myself up for giving up a run because it happens. I’ve never seen anybody go through a season without giving up a run.”
And what does he think of pitchers who do a lot of fist-pumping and gyrations after a save?
“I don’t like it,” he said. “To each his own. It kind of looks like garbage out there, personally. Everybody does their own thing.”
You might see a little fist pump, though, from Gregg.
“Maybe after a big play I might give it one of these [fist pump] if it was a good play,” he said. “You won’t see me strike out a guy and do a little dance out there.”
* Koyie Hill started his 19th straight game behind the plate on Wednesday, the longest stretch since Damon Berryhill caught 25 in a row from May 13-June 9, 1989. The ironman duties are no big deal to Hill, who began the year as backup to Geovany Soto.
“Randy Hundley started 161,” Hill said.
Actually, Hundley started 156 games for the Cubs in 1968, played in 160, and totaled 1,385 innings behind the plate. The backups that year were Randy Bobb, who started two games, and Bill Plummer, who did not start a game. Hill, by the way, entered Wednesday’s game with 909 2/3 innings at catcher in his career.
* Carlos Zambrano was wearing a neck wrap on Wednesday. The problem? “Bad sleep,” he said.
* Ron Santo was scheduled to go with the team to Florida and Cincinnati but will miss the third city on the trip, and not be in Denver for the series vs. Colorado.
* B.J. Ryan made his first appearance in relief on Tuesday and pitched one inning for Triple-A Iowa. He threw about 11 pitches, and his fastball registered about 86-87 mph.
— Carrie Muskat