There’s a unique chapter to the short-lived controversy over Kevin Gregg and Pedro Strop sharing closer duties—Gregg has been Strop’s mentor before when both were with the Baltimore Orioles.
“Me and Kevin have been teammates before,’’ said Strop, who dominated in the ninth Saturday to preserve a 3-1-comeback victory. “He’s been part of my career when I came up with the Orioles. He was one of the older guys and he helped me learn how to find a routine. We’ve been here a short time [together] but he’s been helping me like he used to.’’
Strop earned his first Cubs save with three strikeouts after a three-run Cubs rally in the eighth. “He was amazing,’’ said catcher Dioner Navarro, whose single drove in the go-ahead run. “I think he’s been there with Baltimore. I think he’s built for it.’’
Travis Wood pitched seven innings and is one short of 200 for the season. He gets one more start.
The victory went to Carlos Villanueva (7-8), who denied the Braves from scoring with two on and no outs in the eighth—and in the process denied or at least delayed a clinching celebration on Wrigley Field.
The Braves would clinch if Washington lost Saturday night to Miami.
Kyle Hendricks and Javier Baez were honored Saturday as the organization’s minor league pitcher and player of the year. Baez’ success this season, with a minor league-best 37 home runs and 111 RBI, has been well chronicled.
But righthander Hendricks, 23, has been an equally strong surprise after going 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA at Class AA Tennessee and Class AAA Iowa.
“He’s a special guy,’’ player development director Brandon Hyde said of Hendricks, who was acquired last season from Texas as part of the Ryan Dempster trade. “We knew he was good but he really opened our eyes from the beginning of the year. He knows how to attack hitters and knows how to throw strikes. And what an incredible year he had.’’
Hendricks made his first visit to Wrigley Field Saturday in accepting the honor.
“It’s awesome. Being out here on the field, seeing all the big leaguers taking batting practice. Some of the guys I know. I’ve played with them in Triple-A and spring training. This is what you dream of, to be on this field.’’
Hendricks is finishing his last quarter at Dartmouth where he will graduate in nine weeks with a degree in economics and minor in math.
He and Baez could be in the majors next season.
To mark next year’s 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, the Cubs held a contest for a special logo design. More than 1,200 entries were submitted and an online vote held among four finalists. Brandon Ort of New Bremen, Ohio won the vote, with his logo to be featured on home uniforms next season and on 100th anniversary merchandise.