Things continued fraying at the edges for the Cubs in the dying days of another dismal season.
Earlier this week, pitchers Edwin Jackson and Jeff Samardzija got into dugout dust-ups with manager Dale Sveum and coach David Bell, respectively.
On Friday, it was closer Kevin Gregg’s turn.
Gregg gave up 4 runs in the top of the ninth inning as the Atlanta Braves broke a 5-5 tie and went on to beat the Cubs 9-5 and drop their record to 64-90.
The Cubs signed the 35-year-old Gregg in April after the Dodgers cut him loose after spring training. Gregg has saved 32 games for the Cubs.
But on Friday, he was miffed that Sveum considered using youngster Pedro Strop to close games in the final week of the season. Strop worked the eighth inning Friday.
What occurred then was Gregg going off on the Cubs, team president Theo Epstein reacting and Gregg meeting with the media again to say he was on board with the Cubs’ plan.
“With what I’ve done this year and the things I’ve accomplished, for an organization to come out and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go a different direction,’ professional courtesy would have been nice,” he said after the game at his locker.
Epstein met with reporters in the back of the Wrigley Field press box and said that Gregg eventually apologized to him and to Sveum.
“Here’s what happened to the best of my knowledge,” Epstein began. “Dale went to Kevin in Milwaukee to tell him that he had done a great job and that it would be in the organization’s benefit (to use Strop). We know what Kevin can do. He established himself. He re-established his career. He’s done a great job. No one questions his ability to close out games at a high level. It would really help the organization to take a look at Strop pitching, maybe once, maybe twice.
“Apparently, Kevin misunderstood Dale and thought that he had his job permanently taken away from him. Despite getting the ball in the closer’s role the last couple days, he had some choice words ... Upon hearing that, I called him up to Dale’s office and told him how disappointed I was in him.
“I think it took him a couple minutes to understand that he misunderstood Dale, and he ultimately apologized to me and to Dale. I told him I’d sleep on it and decide whether we’d have any disciplinary action.”
Such action could include the Cubs releasing Gregg, but Epstein said he hoped cooler heads would prevail.
Gregg came up to the press box after that and was conciliatory, saying the situation would be good for Strop and good for him.
“I’m a closer,” he said. “I get fiery at times. I take it personal with my job and what I do. I got angry about it. This is what I want to do. I want to close. I want to close every single game … I understand where he (Epstein) is coming from. I understand he’s got an organization to look after.”
Scope for Castillo:
Catcher Welington Castillo will need arthroscopic surgery to repair a partial meniscus tear in his right knee. Castillo injured his knee running out a groundball Thursday in Milwaukee.
An MRI Friday showed the tear. Theo Epstein said the rehab process, “conservatively,” is 4-6 weeks.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.