Critics chirp about Robin Ventura’s pen calls in 14-inning loss
BY daryl van schouwen Staff Reporter April 17, 2014 11:03PM
Updated: April 18, 2014 12:13AM
Manager Robin Ventura still was answering questions about his handling of the bullpen the day after he used four pitchers in the eighth inning Wednesday and started the ninth with Maikel Cleto — and not his closer — in what turned into a bad 6-4 loss in 14 innings to the Boston Red Sox.
Ventura also used Daniel Webb for 60 pitches in relief and was forced to finish the game with infielder Leury Garcia, who took the loss.
“When things don’t happen, you can get criticized for just moves,’’ Ventura said Thursday. “But going through the game and looking at it, I would have done the same thing.’’
The one that generated the most criticism was not opening the ninth with Matt Lindstrom, who was charged with a blown save but pitched two strong innings and received another vote of confidence from Ventura on Thursday. The Sox led 3-2, and Lindstrom did enter, but not until after Cleto walked the first two batters.
“Yeah, well, you’re pretty limited [in] what you can use,’’ said Ventura, who had Webband Lindstrom left, but was concerned about not having enough pitchers for possible extra innings. “[Cleto] was throwing great and it just ended up unraveling.’’
Putnam called up; Veal DFA’d
Lefty Donnie Veal, who walked seven in seven relief appearances, was designated for assignment, and right-hander Zach Putnam was called up. Putnam, who pitched for the Cubs last season, lasted deep into spring training with a 2.53 ERA, 13 strikeouts and two walks in 102/3 innings. At Class AAA Charlotte, he pitched six scoreless innings over four relief appearances.
“This is surreal,’’ said Putnam, who got a call while he was asleep late Wednesday. “It’s one of those things you never expect it to happen, and when it does happen, you just kind of go with it and enjoy the process.’’
Putnam had bone spurs removed from his right elbow in August and is pitching pain-free, which has made a world of difference.
“I had been dealing with the elbow thing for two years, and it got to a point where I had to get it fixed,’’ said Putnam, who has a career 8.53 ERA in 15 innings with the Cubs, Rockies and Indians. “Spring training was the first time I threw without some pain in my elbow in a number of years.’’