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Renteria hopes Veras can win back closer job

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have not had a save situation in six games since Jose Veras lost his job as the closer, and in a perfect world, manager Rick Renteria would like to see the right-hander back in that role.

First, Veras needs to get in a game and pitch.

Renteria told Veras on April 12 that he was no longer the closer after blowing a two-run lead against the Cardinals the day before. Veras is 0-2 in save situations this season.

The only pitchers to convert save situations so far are Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, both 1-for-1. James Russell is 0-for-1. The Cubs have the fewest saves in the National League with two.

"We still have a lot of guys in our 'pen who can be managed through those particular innings," Renteria said Sunday. "I think we'll continue to keep our eyes open. We certainly want to make sure we give Jose a chance to get back into the role and try to find situations we can allow him to work.

"He needs to work," Renteria said of Veras, who was called on in relief Sunday in the seventh, his first appearance since April 11. "We're going to do our very best that he gets into a comfort level. We need all those guys. In baseball, you don't eliminate guys, you need them all."

Besides Strop and Rondon, Renteria said Justin Grimm is another option in save situations. The manager will go with matchups for now. He'd like Veras to win the job back.

"Veras was brought in to be our closer," Renteria said. "We want to make sure he's given an opportunity. He's working very hard on certain things but he still has to get out there on the hill in game situations to get comfortable."

Renteria and Veras talk about the situation.

"Sometimes, the light turns on and you feel good about yourself and you want to go out and do it," Renteria said. "It takes a special person to go out and close the games. Do I think all the guys are capable of doing it? Absolutely. We still have to find ways to incorporate all of them."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.
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