5/2 Veras to start rehab soon
Jose Veras, on the DL with a strained left oblique, was scheduled to join Double-A Tennessee and begin a rehab assignment soon. Whether he’ll return as the team’s closer is yet to be determined. Chicago pitchers have one save opportunity in the last 16 games dating to April 12, and the team’s six save opportunities are the fewest in the Majors.
Right now, manager Rick Renteria is relying on matchups, although Hector Rondon has emerged as a possible closer candidate. The other options include Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm.
“I think ideally we’d develop a closer from one of the guys we have on the roster,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Friday. “I think we have some guys who have the stuff and makeup to do it. Hopefully, it’ll click with one of these guys. I do like the way our guys have thrown. I feel when we have a series, we match up well with other teams’ bullpens. I don’t think teams are excited to face us in the seventh, eighth, ninth innings.”
Despite the closer struggles, the Cubs relievers have combined to toss 14-scoreless innings in the last six games, including scoreless contests in all five games of the just-completed road trip. The Cubs’ bullpen has not had six-straight scoreless games since a nine-game stretch April 29-May 8, 2011.
— Carrie Muskat