Apology accepted, Gregg will not be released by Cubs
Team president Epstein decides not to let reliever go after veteran's comments Friday
CHICAGO -- Theo Epstein didn't need to wait overnight to decide whether to accept Kevin Gregg's apology, and instead called the Cubs pitcher on Friday night to say the right-hander would not be released despite his critical comments made toward team management.
Epstein, president of baseball operations, had said he was going to "sleep on it" after learning of Gregg's comments after Friday's game when the pitcher complained about losing his job as the Cubs' closer.
On Saturday, Gregg said that as far as he was concerned, any problems had been resolved.
"I think the situation is over," Gregg said. "We can't change the past. Going forward, forget about it."
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday some of the blame for the mixup falls on him.
"I guess the communication somewhere along the line just got miscommunicated," Sveum said. "I told [the media] we might give [Pedro] Strop an opportunity, which is the same thing I told [Gregg]. Unfortunately, it got miscommunicated and it turned into a mess. It's all fixed now, and we've accepted the apologies and moved on."
Gregg was told Thursday in Milwaukee that the Cubs wanted to see Strop in closer situations. On Friday, he gave up four runs in the Braves' ninth in a 9-5 Cubs loss, then lashed out after the game.
"For an organization to just come out and say, 'Hey, we're going to go in a different direction ...' You know, professional courtesy would've been nice," Gregg said after Friday's game.
Gregg felt the news made it a little difficult to concentrate in the game. After Epstein heard Gregg's postgame comments, he met with the pitcher and Sveum in the manager's office. At that time, Gregg apologized to both.
Epstein said Gregg "misunderstood" Sveum's message. Gregg then walked up to the press box at Wrigley Field to meet with the media, and he admitted that when he first heard the news, it "kind of got under my skin."
"Now that I have sat down with Theo and Dale again, they clarified things and I was able to cool off a little bit," Gregg said Friday in the press box. "It helped to be able to talk to them and see what they actually are thinking. They want to get a look at Pedro, but they are not going to take anything from me, either.
"They wanted to work together to see what the future holds for the organization with him and myself," Gregg said. "I am OK with that. I like that idea."
It's the third incident involving one of the Cubs pitchers and a staff member. On Monday, Edwin Jackson and Sveum got into a shouting match in the dugout at Miller Park after the right-hander was pulled. On Tuesday, Jeff Samardzija yelled at third-base coach David Bell for a defensive shift that didn't work.
"That stuff happens," Sveum said. "It all came in a little bunch right here."
Gregg's comments, though, caught Sveum "completely off guard," he said.
Whether Strop can handle the closer's role next year won't be determined in the final eight games.
"We all know this is a stressful job closing, and you have to be durable to do it, and there's a lot more that goes into than getting one opportunity the last 10 days or two opportunities to make a complete judgement," Sveum said. "It's more of how you're seeing the heart rate work than getting the last three outs."