Cubs' Motte will help whenever asked
Unless something unexpected happens with Hector Rondon, don't look for any closer controversies with the Cubs.
Rondon ascended to the closer's role last year after veteran Jose Veras was sent packing, and Rondon responded with 29 saves.
This off-season, the Cubs signed reliever Jason Motte, who gained fame as a closer with the Cardinals. Motte saved 42 games for St. Louis in 2012 before elbow surgery cost him the 2013 season.
Motte is in Cubs spring-training camp, but he's sounding more like one of the guys rather than THE guy.
"I think my role is when the phone rings and Joe tells me to get going, I'm going to get going," Motte said, referring to manager Joe Maddon. "And when he tells me I'm in the game, I'm in the game.
"That's what I've done my whole career. I've closed. I've come in during the fifth inning. I've come in to get one out. I've come in to throw the eighth, to throw the seventh.
"My mindset is when that phone rings and they tell me to get going, I'm going to get going. I'm here to help this ballclub win. If I go out there and I pitch well and everyone else feeds off each other and everyone else does well, that's what it's all about. It's about winning ballgames."
Maddon has said that Rondon is his closer, and he's glad he can put Motte into any situation.
"He's a perfect guy to fit into a variety of different spots," Maddon said. "Everybody gets hung up on the closer thing, and they probably get paid a couple more bucks, I would think. You saw what Kansas City did last year. You did not want to have a deficit against Kansas City in the sixth inning. They could cover 6, 7, 8, 9. That's ridiculous.
"But that's happening more and more often. When you get unselfish players who are able to toss aside different whatevers and go out there and pitch when you're asked to pitch because you're good and then you put them against the right kind of guy, then all of a sudden you get something that's really significant.
"I think Jason totally, totally would accept that thought."