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Cubs' new closer Veras excited by opportunity

Cubs' new closer Veras excited by opportunity

MESA, Ariz. -- When Jose Veras was looking for a team to sign with, the right-hander says he was not that concerned about being the closer.

"I'm the kind of guy who was just looking to find a job and be somewhere and do my best," said Veras, who signed a free-agent deal with the Cubs on Dec. 27 and will be their closer this season.

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"I don't think in my mind that I've got a spot or got a place [on the team]," he said. "I think I'm here and any position, any moment that they need me, give my best, make the team win ballgames, and that's my goal. That's what I worry about. I don't worry about being setup, closer, long reliever; whatever they need from me, I'll be there."

Veras was the Astros' closer at the start of last season before being traded to the Tigers, who used him as a setup pitcher. In 25 games with Detroit, he posted a 3.20 ERA.

Veras did like the idea of joining the Cubs. To him, the team has some special history.

"Being with the Cubs is something you can't explain," Veras said. "A lot of good players passed through here -- Greg Maddux, [Ryne] Sandberg, the second baseman, Sammy Sosa, [Alfonso] Soriano, Aramis Ramirez. It's unbelievable to wear this uniform. For me, it's one of my best steps in baseball, to be with a glory team like this."

Keep in mind, Veras has pitched for the Yankees, the Indians, the Marlins, the Pirates and the Brewers as well as the Astros and the Tigers.

"I see the history; I know how they are," he said of the Cubs. "So far, it's a team that gives a lot of opportunity to people who they trust can do something. That's the best part of baseball, when you find people who trust you can do something."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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