Why naming a closer isn’t a necessity for Cubs manager David Ross

Having a defined closer makes things easier for a manager, but that’s not the priority for the Cubs’ David Ross. Whether it’s through an established ninth-inning guy or whoever fits the matchup, Ross is looking for one thing.

“I tell all the relievers I just like outs,” Ross said Saturday before the Cubs faced the Brewers. “I’ll try to set people up for the right pockets, but if you have somebody you can establish in the ninth then it kind of works its way backward to get to that spot. It is easier to work that way, from my seat, but not a necessity.”

Unlike last year – before the trade deadline – the Cubs don’t have a Craig Kimbrel-type they know will get the ball for a save. The first chance this season went to veteran David Robertson, who successfully finished the Cubs’ 5-4 Opening Day win Thursday.

To put it mildly, Robertson has been there. He entered Saturday with 138 career saves, and pitched in high-leverage situations for the Yankees, including their run to the 2009 World Series title.

“I know he’s done a nice job in a lot of different environments, a lot of stressful situations on the biggest stage you can possibly get,” Ross said. “He’s definitely a guy that’s been around and you trust.”

Robertson, like the rest of the bullpen, will have to be flexible as Ross goes with a committee approach. And even if somebody stands out from the group, they won’t necessarily get the ninth.

“If the biggest moment, the biggest pocket, is in the eighth and David lines up the best to face these three, four hitters, then I’m going to bring him in the eighth and try to lock that down,” Ross said. “I think it’s like leveraging the whole situation of the game. That’s the most important part. That goes back to getting outs.”

Health news
The Cubs gave updates on three injured players.

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder inflammation) is continuing a throwing program in Arizona. Pitcher Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) is playing catch, and fellow pitcher Alec Mills (low back strain) threw a light bullpen Thursday and was expected to do so again this weekend.

All three are on the 10-day injured list.

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