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Former Chicago Cubs closer Kevin Gregg recently revealed that not only does he hope to come back to the Cubs next year, but he hopes to come back as the closer. Gregg is a free agent after this season.

A return to the closer’s spot seems unlikely given Carlos Marmol’s performance in the role, and Gregg’s return also seems unlikely given the bevy of young relievers in the Cubs’ stable coupled with the salary issues the team is likely to have. But if the Cubs decide to bring him back, Gregg wants them to know that the only reason he was so crummy this year was because of his bum knee – from last year.

”If teams are going to look at me to close, they know I can close,” he said. ”To have the ups and downs this year after my surgery was to be expected, really. And looking forward to coming into a completely healthy year ready to go for next year, I’m excited about that.

”It’ll be nice to go through a year where I don’t have to basically go through rehab on my knee as I go, and being back to where I was last year until I hurt my knee.”

If Gregg’s knee hampered him the first half, he didn’t let on, at least publicly, but manager Lou Piniella said in April that part of Gregg’s maintenance would require monitoring his use early in the season.

”It’s part of the recovery,” Gregg said, ”just like anybody else who has surgery. It typically takes a year to go through the ebb and flow of it and get back to the baseline.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Ok, maybe Gregg’s disappointing 2009 campaign really was the result of a long, tough recovery from last year’s knee problem and subsequent surgery.

But the last time we heard about Gregg’s knee was approximately five months ago. It seems to me that, when Gregg started completely crapping the bed in August, we would have heard a little something more about his lingering knee problems. I suppose we did get a wiff of some knee stiffness, and he did sit out at times with largley unspecified issues, but never was the knee tied to the performance. It seems convenient, on the eve of free agency, for this issue to be revealed.

Best of luck next year to Kevin Gregg, but I think we can all agree it is probably best if it’s somewhere else.

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