Gregg shut down; Aramis could be next

Gregg shut down; Aramis could be next

CHICAGO -- Kevin Gregg tried to talk the Cubs out of it, but the right-hander will be shut down for the remainder of the season because of a crack in the cartilage in his left rib cage.

Gregg joins Rich Harden, Angel Guzman and Alfonso Soriano as players whose seasons have ended early because of injuries. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez may be next. Ramirez did not start Tuesday because of discomfort in his left shoulder, and Cubs manager Lou Piniella wasn't sure if he would play again this year.

"His shoulder is sore," Piniella said. "I don't know how much playing time he'll get the rest of the year. Ramirez has been playing with discomfort for a good while. We appreciate that. If he can play here sparingly the rest of the year, we'll see."

There was some concern that Ramirez would need shoulder surgery to tighten the capsule, but Piniella said all the third baseman needs is rest and exercise this offseason.

What about the Cubs' doubleheader on Wednesday?

"We'll see," Piniella said. "We'll look at it day-to-day and go from there."

Gregg, who lost the closer's job in mid-August to Carlos Marmol, compiled a 4.72 ERA in 72 games with 23 saves. He tried to argue for at least one or two more appearances in the final week of games.

"They pay me to be ready for 162," Gregg said Tuesday. "I want to pitch, I want to go out there. Even if you're not 100 percent, you still want to give it a chance."

Piniella and the Cubs medical staff, led by athletic trainer Mark O'Neal and orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo, said no.

"He's had a lot of discomfort," Piniella said. "He doesn't know how it happened. I know one thing, he's done a nice job here this year."

Gregg's last appearance was Sept. 20 in St. Louis when he went 1 1/3 innings in relief.

"I thought if I could deal with it, I could pitch," Gregg said. "They want to make sure nothing else comes out of this."

The right-hander thought the pain would go away, but it didn't get better.

"I still think it's something I can get through to the end of the year," Gregg said. "The best thing is to just relax and go."

All of Gregg's seven blown saves came on the road, but he took some heat in Chicago.

"I have a long-term memory and the memory I have is of a guy who competed well and never complained about anything," Piniella said. "That's all you can expect as a manager from your players."

Gregg is one of four free agents on the Cubs along with Harden, John Grabow and Reed Johnson, and he said he hasn't thought too much about next year during the past 24 hours because he's been thinking about this season.

"I like Chicago," Gregg said. "I think it's a great place. A lot of people want to come here. I don't see any problems with this place -- I think it's a team that wants to win, an organization that wants to win. They put a good product on the field. Unfortunately, this year, the Cardinals are running away with it."

However, Gregg also is aware that if he stays in Chicago, he wouldn't be the closer. Marmol has been tabbed for that job next year.

"I like closing," Gregg said. "I really hadn't thought about [next year] at all."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.