David Ross Admits He Was Wrong on Ryan Tepera, Offers Health Updates on Other Pitchers

The ability to admit one’s mistakes is imperative when it comes to correcting or eliminating the thoughts and behaviors that led to those mistakes in the first place. It’s that whole thing about being doomed to repeat history when you don’t understand it, which can be really troublesome in a baseball season when events can be repeated on a daily basis.

Rather than bristle at the notion that he may have been wrong about a decision, or a pattern of decisions, David Ross readily admitted to the media that he made a mistake with righty reliever Ryan Tepera. After initially being left off of the 30-man roster, Tepera has become one of the Cubs’ most trusted bullpen arms.

He yielded three earned runs over his first two outings, but struck out six and walked just one in that time. Those were the only runs and walk he’s issued, though, pitching five virtually flawless innings in four subsequent appearances.

“Ryan Tepera has come back and proved me wrong,” Ross said prior to Saturday’s game. “I was wrong on that.”

That’s pretty refreshing to hear.

The man Tepera replaced, Brad Wieck, is still on the IL as he works through some issues. The hamstring issue that initially shelved him is apparently gone, but now he’s battling left knee soreness. That’s not unexpected for such a big pitcher who got a late start on the season after undergoing a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat, but that doesn’t mean it’s something to brush aside.

Abbreviated as it was, Wieck’s performance in exhibition games and one real appearance left a lot to be desired. The dip in his fastball velocity was particularly troublesome and indicated something was wrong even before he hit the IL. While Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills are proof positive that you don’t need to throw hard to pitch well, losing well over three ticks on the radar gun isn’t a good sign.

After sitting right around 94 mph last season, Wieck wasn’t even averaging 91 in the games that featured velo readings. Getting back to full strength isn’t just about feeling healthy, it’s about being able to pitch at a level that helps the Cubs over the rest of the season.

Even more important is having Tyler Chatwood back in the rotation, which should happen by Monday. Ross said the righty’s back is feeling better and that he should be able to take the ball for one of the Cubs’ first two games against the Cardinals. Maybe the extra rest will even enable him to save the bullpen.

With seven games over the next five days, the Cubs are going to need more than one or two pitchers to step up and eat some innings here.

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