4/29 Extra bases
* Dale Sveum doesn’t give the Cubs relievers a heads up before the game to let them know who the designated closer is that day. He’s sticking with the best matchup.
“It’s been working,” Sveum said Monday. “I’m not going to say it’s a fix-all and that you don’t want to name a closer. You definitely don’t want to rock the boat when things are going good in the back of the bullpen when everybody is healthy and ready to go that night. It could be one of four guys. It depends on the matchups.”
The four include Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Shawn Camp and James Russell.
“After the fifth inning, everybody in that bullpen is on call at any time, depending on how we want to use it in the matchups,” Sveum said.
How does Gregg feel about that?
“There’s pros and cons to both ways,” Gregg said about picking one pitcher and using a closer by committee approach. “You name a closer and you definitely allow guys to slide into a position where they’re comfortable and know what they’re preparing for. Sometimes that backfires on some guys. That knowing [they’re the one], the anxiety gets to them a little bit.”
Even if Sveum tells the pitchers that they’ll be called on late in the game, some prefer more specific instructions.
“Late in the game in the seventh inning and late in the game in the ninth inning are two different animals,” Gregg said. “You have to know what guys are comfortable with, what situations they’ll be successful in.”
* Cubs pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa threw 32 pitches in a bullpen session Monday, his first since going on the disabled list April 13, and will do so again before he makes a Minor League rehab outing. Fujikawa, sidelined with a strained right forearm, was expected to join Triple-A Iowa on Sunday if all goes well.
“Things didn’t go real crisp today,” Sveum said of the session. “Everything was fine and he felt great and everything, but the location wasn’t where we wanted it to be.”
* Scott Baker, coming back from Tommy John surgery one year ago, resumed his throwing program on Monday in Mesa, Ariz. Baker threw from about 45 feet.
* Matt Garza, on the disabled list with a strained left lat, was to start Wednesday for Double-A Tennessee, which would be his second Minor League rehab outing. He will make at least three such starts.
* Catcher Steve Clevenger, on the DL with a strained left oblique, was able to catch two bullpen sessions on Monday and is throwing from 120-130 feet. He expected to start swinging a bat early next week.
– Carrie Muskat