Tag:Kevin Gregg
Posted on: August 18, 2009 8:53 pm

Marmol in, Gregg out as Cubs closer

Out of patience following another jarring, walk-off loss Monday night to start a crucial West Coast trip, Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella has demoted Kevin Gregg from the closer's role. Carlos Marmol will replace him.

"He pitched in the set-up role last year and this year, he has some experience closing, it's a natural progression," Piniella said of Marmol, who is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA and four saves this season.

As for Gregg, Monday's was his sixth blown save this season in 29 opportunities. Three of those, however, have occurred this month. In eight August outings, Gregg has three blown saves and an 11.25 ERA.

"Look, we needed to try a different approach," Piniella said. "We've been very patient, if you want to use that word. We've lost some tough, tough ballgames. Marmol deserves an opportunity and we're going to give him that chance."


Posted on: March 29, 2009 2:48 pm

Cubs name Gregg as closer

 MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago manager Lou Piniella said Sunday that Kevin Gregg has won the Cubs' closer job, with Carlos Marmol being relegated to the set-up duties he performed last season for Kerry Wood.

"We said we'd let both pitchers compete in the spring, and both have pitched very well," Piniella said Sunday morning after informing Gregg and Marmol of the decision. "I'm fortunate that I have two pitchers I have confidence in."

Piniella was being generous to Marmol in his assessment of the spring. While Gregg hasn't allowed a run in 8 1/3 innings this spring (four hits, 10 strikeouts, one walk), Marmol has allowed four runs in eight innings and, most noticeably, has had difficulty with his command. Marmol has hit five batters during his eight innings.

"I think, leaving spring training, we're a better team the way we put this together," said Piniella, whose Cubs open next Monday in Houston. "Now, what we have to do with Marmol in the set-up role is find a couple of pitchers who can help him so we can get to where we don't have to used him as much as we did (early) last year."

Veteran Aaron Heilman, who should see a lot of work in the seventh innings, figures prominently in that mix. Piniella also mentioned Luis Vizcaino and lefty Neal Cotts. Right-handers Chad Gaudin and Jeff Samardzija are two others who could factor in, but the Cubs aren't certain how the last spot or two in their bullpen will shake out.

Gregg, 30, compiled 61 saves over the past two seasons combined for the Florida Marlins. Marmol, 26, has eight career saves -- seven last year. Though Piniella did not mention the World Baseball Classic as factoring into the decision, Marmol spent part of this spring away from Cubs camp, pitching for the Dominican Republic. He struggled there as well, blowing a save opportunity in the Dominican Republic's 2-1 loss to The Netherlands.

"I told him the better he does his job, the better we'll be as a team," Piniella said of his message to Marmol. "I told him not to be disappointed, that there will be plenty of opportunities down the road for him for him to close. I told him to improve and maintain, and a lot of good things will happen for him in his career."

Besides, in a perfect Cubs world, if they win as often as they hope, Marmol may still get a chance to close at times because Piniella hopes to refrain from using Gregg more than two or three days in a row.

Of course, worse-case scenario is that Gregg stumbles early and a full-blown controversy develops.

"We're not going to tiptoe through the tulips with this thing," Piniella said. "We've made our decision. We're going to give (Gregg) every chance to succeed, and I'm sure he will."

Piniella added: "I couldn't go wrong either way, I really couldn't. I thought about this for a long time. It's tough to bring a young man into this office like that (and tell Marmol he lost the job), especially someone who's played such a big role in our success."

Likes: How can you beat this upcoming week: Bruce Springsteen's new tour kicking off on Wednesday night, the Final Four games on Saturday, Braves at Phillies in the season opener on Sunday, 28 major-league clubs opening on Monday and then the NCAA championship hoops game on Monday night. If you can't find some things to smile about in there, you may as well give it up. ... Aaron Boone continuing to do well following open-heart surgery last week. ... Clubs like the Cubs making final roster decisions. ... Jordan Zimmerman in the Washington Nationals' April rotation. Why not? What, they've got somebody both more experienced AND better. ... Villanova. What a great, gutsy team.

Dislikes: Watching Pittsburgh (and so much of the Big East, for that matter) play basketball. Grab, push, shove, hip-check ... it's all brawn, little artistry. But the Panthers sure do have onions, as television commentator Bill Raftery would say.

Sunblock day? Partly cloudy on Sunday in the desert, actually. I suppose it sunblock wouldn't hurt, but it's been on the cool side.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Hey Frank, won't you pack your bags
"And meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
"Just one kiss from you my brother
"And we'll ride until we fall
"We'll sleep in the fields
"We'll sleep by the rivers
"And in the morning we'll make a plan
"Well, if you can't make it
"Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
"If you can
"And meet me in a dream of this hard land"

-- Bruce Springsteen, This Hard Land




Posted on: February 17, 2008 5:21 pm

The richest Marlin

JUPITER, Fla. -- As you know, I'm here to help. Which is why I spent time with Florida closer Kevin Gregg seeking information to help shield him from the IRS.

See, here in the land of minimum wage (first you must realize all of baseball is Fantasy Land, which is how the Marlins' $17 million player payroll for 2008 pretty much qualifies as minimum wage), Gregg is the highest-salaried Marlin this season. He's scheduled to earn $2.5 million.

But that doesn't qualify him for some special club in which the highest-paid players from each team gather to have peeled grapes served to them. He isn't hanging with Alex Rodriguez and Barry Zito over the winter.

In fact, while Pedro Martinez (who isn't even the highest-paid Met) is driving some cherry-red Cadillac SUV that looks custom-built, Gregg is still tooling around at home (Corvallis, Ore.) in a 2004 Dodge 1,500 Quad cab.

"Nothing special," he says.

Memo to the IRS: See, don't read "highest paid" next to Gregg's name and allow your ears to start ringing. Make sure you hear the complete phrase, "highest-paid Marlin." Which is like being seated at the kids' table at a 50th wedding anniversary.

What else does being the highest-paid Marlin get Gregg?

Not an Armani suit.

"No, no," he says. "My most expensive suit probably cost a couple hundred bucks. Got it at Portobello's (in New York). Went in there and bought four suits, six shirts, six ties, some socks ... I think all of that was right at $1,000.

"I don't live a lavish life."

Gregg's salary is a nice raise over the $575,000 he made last year, earned by his becoming the Marlins' closer in '07 and converting 32 of 36 save opportunities.

He'll celebrate his 10th anniversary this year with his wife, Nicole. They have two children, daughter Ryann (6) and son Max (3). The Greggs did take a nice vacation during the off-season, though it wasn't an around-the-world junket. They went to Hawaii.

"We've talked about it for years," Gregg says. "We've never been on a vacation."

Nope, the richest Marlin (by 2008 salary standards, anyway, does not live a lavish life.

A good life, yes. But it's not exactly surf-n-turf every night.

"Oh, no -- I still eat macaroni and cheese and peanut-butter-and-jelly with my kids," Gregg quips.

Likes: What a nice guy Kevin Gregg is. Say one thing for the Marlins: You get to meet a lot of new guys every spring. ... Marlins pitcher Scott Olson good-naturedly tweaking Dontrelle Willis in absentia, saying, "Obviously, the loudest one of everybody is gone from last year." ... Sunday afternoon on I-95. Traffic is about as light as you'll ever see it. ... A Saturday night working in the hotel room with a pizza for dinner, a cold Mountain Dew, and a good college basketball game on the tube. Well, that final part didn't work Saturday as Indiana clobbered Michigan State. ... Bruce Springsteen's Girls in Their Summer Clothes from the Magic album. What a great song. ...

Dislikes: OK, this is small and whiny, but now Subway is serving pizza. Which I put in the same category of their toasted sandwiches. They're both simply things that bog down the usually overworked people behind the counter and hold up the line.

Sunblock day? Mostly. Temperatures in the 80s, but there was a morning shower and it clouded up later in the day.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Well some say life
"Will beat you down
"Break your heart
"Steal your crown
"So I started out
"For God knows where
"But I guess I'll know
"When I get there"

-- Tom Petty, Learning to Fly


Category: MLB
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