Renteria backs Veras as Cubs closer and gets first ejection

Renteria backs Veras as Cubs closer and gets first ejection
April 8, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Jose Veras is already raising the stress levels for Cubs fans and forcing his manager to answers questions about the closer’s job.

“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it,” Renteria said. “But right now, I think it would be really premature for me to make a decision or say that I would change something. I got to see what’s going to happen first.”

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Renteria didn’t get to see the entire Veras experience from the dugout during Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson ejected Renteria in the ninth inning, hearing something from the top step and then getting the Cubs manager in his face.

“That was just between me and Jeff,” Renteria said.

If this was about arguing balls and strikes, it probably had something to do with the closer causing Carlos Marmol flashbacks. One interpretation had Renteria sticking up for Veras, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning but looked shaky in spring training, blew a save in his Cubs debut and walked six during his first two appearances.

The Cubs watched their $52 million pitcher, Edwin Jackson, give up six runs in 4.2 innings, wasting Starlin Castro’s first career two-homer game. For all the urgency in getting off to a fast start and winning those one-run games – leading to some of the Veras questions – this is now a 2-5 team still dealing with a brutal early schedule.

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Renteria is off to a fast start, becoming the majors’ first manager to use expanded instant replay’s challenge system, as well as the first one to get ejected this season.

“Oh, really?” Renteria said. “Oh, OK, I don’t know if that’s very good.”