Jose Veras out as Cubs' closer

ST. LOUIS -- On second thought, Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria has decided to pull Jose Veras from the closer's role.

Renteria announced his decision Saturday, just hours after giving Veras a vote of confidence after the right-hander blew a save opportunity in Friday's 11-inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"We're going to try and find some spots that he can continue to work through whatever things we need to work through and get better," Renteria said Saturday morning. "Right now we're going to see who emerges. We're going to use some of our other guys."

Veras couldn't hold a 3-1 ninth-inning lead Friday as the Cardinals tied the game on a hit, walk and two hit batters. For the season, Veras is 0-for-2 in save opportunities with a 12.27 ERA and seven walks in 3 2/2 innings pitched. He's also hit three batters.

"For some reason, I can't get three down [out] right now," Veras said. "I know how to handle it. I'm not going to put my head down or anything. It's a couple bad outings, hopefully it's going to stop one day.

"I'm going to keep fighting, keep working. I'll never give up, brother."

After the game on Friday, Renteria declared Veras was "still our guy" before changing course Saturday morning.

"I talked to Ricky after the game and he wanted to sleep on it and think about it, that's his decision," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "It's been a struggle. Not enough strikes. He's proven when he throws strikes, he gets guys out."

The Cubs had a similar problem last year to begin the season when Carlos Marmol was pulled from the closer's role in the first week. He was eventually traded. Veras signed a one-year, $4 million contract this past winter after becoming a closer for the first time last year in Houston.

Candidates to save games in his place include Hector Rondon, Justin Grimm and Pedro Strop. Rondon pitched a perfect 11th inning for his first career save Friday and has a 16-innings scoreless streak going back to last season.

"We'll kind of play it by ear," Renteria said.