Cubs

Jason Motte trying to get back into Cubs bullpen for playoff run

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Jason Motte trying to get back into Cubs bullpen for playoff run

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs can’t count on Jason Motte the way the St. Louis Cardinals did in 2011, when he closed out a World Series Game 7 win over the Texas Rangers.

But there’s a long-shot possibility Motte could still help this bullpen, if his right shoulder keeps responding and the Cubs win enough playoff rounds. The veteran reliever traveled on Saturday to the team’s complex in Arizona, where he will begin pitching in simulated games and try to get back to full strength.

“He still has to go through a process,” manager Joe Maddon said before Game 161 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. “He talked to me yesterday and he knows how much experience could matter out of a bullpen this time of the year and the fact that he’s been there.”

[MORE: Kris Bryant's rookie season just the beginning for Cubs]

The Cubs moved Motte to the disabled list on Aug. 24 with a strained right shoulder and didn’t sound optimistic he would be a factor again this season.

Motte had been about what the Cubs expected when they signed him to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, going 8-1 with a 3.91 ERA and six saves in 57 appearances.

“Of course, he is kind of like torn between leaving to go do this or staying around,” Maddon said. “He wanted to get ready for down the road.”

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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