CHICAGO -- Just when you thought it might be all right to allow Chicago Cubs pitcher Jose Veras back on the mound in a high-leverage situation, the reliever self-destructed in a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees in 13 innings on Wednesday.
After the Cubs blew a 2-0 lead for Jeff Samardzija in the ninth, Veras was called upon to pitch the 13th in a 2-2 tie. Since coming off the disabled list, he had gone 1 2/3 innings without giving up any damage. That changed Wednesday.
“I just fell behind the first hitter and I got myself in trouble,” Veras said. “It’s just an outing. I didn’t do the job and we lost the game.”
Neither he nor his manager wanted to compare Wednesday’s struggles to his early-season problems, when he compiled a 15.88 ERA in April. But Veras looked about the same on Wednesday, giving up three hits, one walk and a very costly wild pitch that scored the eventual winning run.
“I don’t want to compare it to previous, because obviously he’s had a couple of outings for us where he did a nice job,” Rick Renteria said. “And this one, in particular, he wasn’t able to hold it. We’ll see where we’re at.”
Where we’re at might be a similar position to where the Cubs were with former pitcher Carlos Marmol.
Veras already has had the obligatory disabled list stint to give him a mental break. The only thing to do next is trade him or designate him for assignment. The Cubs did the latter, then the former to Marmol in late June 2013, so the blueprint is there.
Maybe Veras has some time to right the ship, but he’ll need to prove he can pitch more than a clean inning before being used for anything more important than mop-up duty.
“It’s crazy,” Veras said. “That’s why it’s baseball.”