Rough spring for Cubs’ Hector Rondon, but no worries for manager

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Hector Rondon pitching in the 2015 playoffs.

MESA, Ariz. – Cubs closer Hector Rondon has looked progressively worse in his last three appearances this spring, but manager Joe Maddon blames that on the low stakes of spring training and the delayed start to game action that the late-inning relievers got by design this spring.

“I mean, this guy’s used to an adrenaline rush,” Maddon said. “From where I’m standing the stuff looks really good. He’s probably not commanding it exactly where he wants to, maybe too much middle plate.”

Against the Royals on Wednesday, Rondon allowed hits to seven of the nine batters he faced, including a homer, giving up seven runs before being lifted with two outs.

“As long as he tells me he’s healthy – and he is – and he feels good about himself, that’s all I’m concerned about,” Maddon said.

Rondon, who was demoted from the closer role for a month last season, but in his final 41 appearances, starting in late May, he had a 0.88 ERA and converted 21 of 22 save opportunities. Overall, he was 6-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 30 saves in 72 appearances.

“I honestly have zero concern,” Maddon said, “because I know he’s healthy.”

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