Rick Renteria addressed his bullpen, and specifically the closer situation on Saturday morning. After Friday night’s game in which Jose Veras could not find the strike zone and was charged with his second blown save of the season, Renteria said he was going to stick with Veras as his closer.
Rick Renteria changed his mind on Saturday, a decision that was discussed with Jed Hoyer in length following Friday’s game. Renteria told the beat writers he spoke with Jose Veras and informed him of his decision.
For now, Jose Veras will not be used to close games for the Cubs.
Rick Renteria will use different relievers in the role, play matchups and see which one emerges as the best option to close games. Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Justin Grimm are the top three candidates with Brian Schlitter no longer part of the pen after being optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Saturday morning.
Jose Veras spoke with the beat writers Saturday morning prior to Renteria’s announcement. Veras “wore his heart on his sleeve” according to ESPN Chicago and said, “For some reason I can’t get three outs right now.” Veras took responsibility for his performance according to the Tribune and is “grateful” for the Cubs support. Veras told Patrick Mooney he is not hurt and is 100 percent healthy.
The Cubs plan on using Veras in non-save, non-pressure situations in order to get him on track. Veras has struggled with his command since day one of Spring Training. And while spring numbers do not mean anything, a pitcher must show improvement with hitting his spots as spring progresses. Veras did not and his lack of command has carried into the season.