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08/28/08 9:44 PM ET
Eyre not a big help to Phillies' hitters
Former Cubs reliever lacking tips on how to beat Chicago
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
CHIGAGO -- Perhaps the one bad thing about returning to play your former team is the expertise you're supposed to provide. At least it's a problem for reliever Scott Eyre, who finds himself at Wrigley Field three weeks after being dealt from the Cubs to the Phillies.
"I'm not looking forward to the pitchers' meeting [and the questions] of, 'How do you get this guy out or how do you get that guy out?'" Eyre said. "I don't know. I looked in the stands the whole game. Somebody asked if I knew the signs and I said, 'Dude, I'm a relief pitcher. I don't know the signs.' So I'm not a whole lot of help.
"I think they can do it on their own. They've been doing pretty good on their own for a while."
Eyre smiled when he said this, and related a conversation from the team plane with teamate Chase Utley.
"'How's [Thursday starter Ryan Dempster] going to try to strike me out?'" Eyre said, relaying the question from utley. "He's going to try and get you to swing and miss three times. I said, 'I don't know, I don't watch that closely.'"
Eyre found it interesting to return to the city where he spent the past 2 1/2 seasons, and wondered about the reaction he would get. He said he wasn't bitter about leaving a team with the best record in baseball, with a chance to break a 100-year World Series winning drought.
"Everybody in baseball would want to be on the team to break the curse," Eyre said. "You would go down in Cub history lore. But I'm pretty happy. [Cubs GM] Jim Hendry didn't send me -- I'm not ragging on anybody when I say Kansas City -- but he didn't send me somewhere that doesn't mean anything. He sent me to a playoff contending team and I'll be forever grateful."
It helps that Eyre has thrived with Philadelphia, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless over seven appearances entering Thursday and becoming a vital middle-inning, left-handed option for manager Charlie Manuel. Relaxing in the visitor's dugout for the first time since July 27, 2005, when he was with San Francisco, Eyre mused about the possibility of seeing Chicago again in the postseason.
"That would be kind of interesting, wouldn't it?" he said. "Play for the NL title right here. I'm not going to lie who I'd root for."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.