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Hopeful Sveum points to Pirates, Nationals

Updated: September 25, 2013 12:03AM



On Day 8 of the Dale Sveum Hot Seat Watch, hometown favorite Joe Girardi didn’t look any better than the Cubs’ manager as Girardi’s Yankees slipped to the brink of elimination with a loss to the Rays.

Of course, the Cubs set a franchise record for losses in consecutive seasons (194) with their 8-2 loss Tuesday to the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Pirates. But the good news for Sveum was that none of his players accosted his staff in the dugout, nor ripped the front office on this night.

Girardi? Ron Gardenhire? Mike Scioscia? Mike Maddux?

The names are being circulated in national-media speculation quicker this week than the final swirl of this Cubs season circling the drain — even though the Cubs will have to make a call on Sveum before any of those guys resolves his status with his club.

But regardless of what happens with Sveum and/or his staff after the season finale Sunday in St. Louis, the Cubs’ second-year skipper sees a message in the ­Pirates’ success this year.

“It’s not that far off; that’s the message you try to send,” said Sveum, pointing to the Pirates’ sudden 2013 run to the playoffs after 20 consecutive losing seasons — and the Nationals’ success last season, only two years after losing 100 games.

“This thing is not that far off. It happens every year.”

Sveum spoke a few hours before would-be 2014 rotation candidate Chris Rusin failed to pitch out of the third inning in his last start of the season (finishing with 1871/3 innings, including the minors).

“Anytime you’re losing, you’re not going to enjoy it,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘I don’t care who you are, it’s not very fun. Who really knows what kind of people you have? But you hope you have the kind of people who get tired of it and can turn it into where you appreciate winning and understand how things can turn around — from the Pirates, to the Nationals.

“Obviously, the Pirates have done a nice job in the last three, four, five years of the draft and then some of the trades and some of the people they already had. . . . [Some guys] you have to convince that this can happen overnight, believe it or not.”



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