Cubs’ Pedro Strop, Kevin Gregg share closer role — and history
By TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2013 8:38PM
BRAVES AT CUBS
The facts: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Julio Teheran (12-8, 3.14 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (8-16, 4.75).
Updated: October 23, 2013 6:54AM
There’s a unique chapter to the short-lived controversy about Kevin Gregg and Pedro Strop sharing the closer role: Gregg was Strop’s mentor when both were with the Baltimore Orioles.
‘‘Me and Kevin have been teammates before,’’ said Strop, who dominated in the ninth inning Saturday to preserve the Cubs’ 3-1 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves. ‘‘He’s been part of my career [since] I came up with the Orioles. He was one of the older guys, and he helped me learn how to find a routine. We’ve been here a short time [together], but he’s been helping me like he used to.’’
Strop earned his first save with the Cubs, striking out the side after a three-run rally in the eighth.
‘‘He was amazing,’’ said catcher Dioner Navarro, whose single drove in the go-ahead run. ‘‘I think he’s been there with Baltimore. I think he’s built for it.’’
Travis Wood allowed one run in seven innings. He’s one inning short of 200 for the season with one start left. The victory went to Carlos Villanueva (7-8), who got out of a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth.
The Cubs delayed the Braves’ celebration for clinching the National League East. Their magic number remained at one with the loss and the rained-out game between the second-place Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins.
Kyle Hendricks and Javier Baez were honored as the organization’s minor-league pitcher and player of the year.
Baez’s success — minor-league-best 37 home runs with 111 RBI — has been well chronicled. But right-hander Hendricks, 23, has been an equally strong surprise, going 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA at Class AA Tennessee and
Class AAA Iowa.
‘‘He’s a special guy,’’ player-development director Brandon Hyde said of Hendricks, who was acquired last season from the Texas Rangers as part of the Ryan Dempster trade. ‘‘We knew he was good, but he really opened our eyes from the beginning of the year. He knows how to attack hitters and knows how to throw strikes. And what an incredible year he had.’’
Hendricks made his first visit to Wrigley Field on Saturday to accept the honor.
‘‘It’s awesome. Being out here on the field, seeing all the big-leaguers taking batting practice,’’ he said. ‘‘Some of the guys I know. I’ve played with them in Triple-A and spring training. This is what you dream of, to be on this field.’’
Hendricks is finishing his last quarter at Dartmouth. He will graduate in nine weeks with a degree in economics and a minor in math.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field next year, the Cubs held a contest for a logo design. More than 1,200 entries were submitted, and an online vote was held among four finalists. Brandon Ort of New Bremen, Ohio, won. His logo will appear on the home uniforms next season and on anniversary merchandise.