MILWAUKEE – Jose Veras apparently has hit another roadblock as he tries to find his way back to the ninth inning – or at least being a functional part of the Cubs bullpen.
Manager Rick Renteria revealed that Veras has a sore left oblique muscle while responding to a general question about the pitching staff before Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Veras lost the closer’s job 10 games into the season and hasn’t looked right since spring training. This became the first mention of any physical issue.
“He’s been working really hard and I think he’s probably developed a little soreness,” Renteria said at Miller Park. “He’s a very hard worker. We’ll monitor it and see how he’s doing.”
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The Cubs are carrying eight relievers in their bullpen after calling up lefty Zac Rosscup and right-hander Neil Ramirez on Thursday from Triple-A Iowa. Veras has a 15.88 ERA with 10 walks and three hit batters in 5.2 innings.
Teammates respect the 33-year-old veteran, who had told Renteria to use him in any situation, whenever he’s needed. Only four pitchers have appeared in more games across the last three seasons than Veras (218), who notched 19 saves for the Houston Astros last season before getting traded to the Detroit Tigers.
“Players should have an ego – that’s the competitor in them. You want them to be upset when things aren’t going well,” Renteria said. “All we try to do is have conversations with them and we try to be the ones that keep it in perspective.
“As long as you’re always communicating with them, they have a sense that: ‘OK, we know what we’re trying to do. We know where we’re trying to go. I’ve not been left out to just rot.'"