Cubs pit fill-in closer Ramirez against Brewers

Cubs pit fill-in closer Ramirez against Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- Neil Ramirez was primarily a starter in the Minor Leagues, and he did not save a single game there. This season, the rookie reliever has given up one earned run in 11 2/3 innings pitched for the Cubs.

But with Hector Rondon away on paternity leave, Ramirez was the Cubs' designated closer against the Brewers. No big deal said Ramirez, rated the Cubs' No. 13 prospect by MLB.com.

"If you go out there and make a situation more than what it needs to be, that's when you get in trouble," Ramirez said Saturday before the second of three games in Milwaukee. "For me, whether it's a closing role or starting role or sixth inning or whatever it is, I always want to focus on what I want the ball to do and where I want it to go. I just want to focus on making pitches."

Entering Saturday, Ramirez had appeared in two games against the Brewers, including his Major League debut April 25 at Miller Park. The Milwaukee hitters have not seen him too much.

"That'll help me out a little bit the first time through," Ramirez said. "But they have video, and I've faced them a couple times. They had a good plan [Friday against Travis Wood], and we'll have to adjust to what they were doing.

"I have to concentrate on making pitches, and if it's the eighth inning or ninth inning, it doesn't matter," he said.

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.