CINCINNATI -- If the Cubs ask Kevin Gregg, he'll tell them he's available on Monday. But manager Lou Piniella wants to give his closer a few days off because of a tired arm, so Carlos Marmol is the designated closer.
Gregg had converted 10 consecutive save opportunities until the weekend, when he missed twice against the Marlins. On Saturday the Cubs rallied in the 10th to win, 9-8, but on Sunday, Dan Uggla and Cody Ross hit back-to-back home runs off Gregg in the ninth for a 3-2 walk-off win.
"I think we'll give [Gregg] a little time off tonight," Piniella said before Monday's series opener against the Reds. "Hopefully, we can give him some time off tonight and tomorrow. He has a little bit of a tired arm. There's no pain in any particular area, but just achy. What I'm going to do is talk to him, and if that's the case, we can stay away from him. We've got to know it."
Piniella had checked with his closer before Sunday's game, and again in the sixth before calling on him for the ninth. Both times, Gregg said he was fine.
"Closers take a lot of responsibility, and they feel, and rightfully so, they can pitch through anything," Piniella said. "Sometimes you have to be a little more realistic."
For the season, Gregg has converted 21 of 26 save opportunities.
Piniella was still recovering from Sunday's loss.
"I don't know if I got my breath from that finish," he said. "The first [home run] took the air out of me, and the second one, I needed a tank to get from the dugout to the clubhouse. That's the quickest ending I've ever seen. That was good morning, good afternoon, good night. Unbelievable."
The bullpen is a little overworked after the starters totaled 14 out of 28 innings vs. the Marlins. Carlos Zambrano was limited to three innings on Saturday because of a stiff back, and Piniella said that his starter may have to help out in the 'pen.
"I haven't talked to the 'Z-man' yet," he said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.