Rondon's stiff back nearly 100 percent

Cubs closer feels 'way better' day after pain surfaces

Rondon's stiff back nearly 100 percent

CHICAGO -- Hector Rondon said he was fine after playing catch prior to Thursday's series-closing 7-2 win over the Dodgers, but the Cubs opted to be careful with their closer, who was available on Thursday but not used because of a stiff back.

If a save situation arose, Maddon's plan was to use Travis Wood and Pedro Strop before turning to Rondon.

"He told me he was fine," Maddon said. "He tested it. He threw before the game ... but I was still trying to stay away."

Rondon, who is 9-for-9 in save opportunities this season, played catch and said he felt fine after the session.

"I feel way better than yesterday," Rondon said. "I still feel it a little bit, but nothing big."

Rondon, who battled back problems two years ago, felt his back tighten just prior to Wednesday night's 2-1 win over the Dodgers and told the Cubs' athletic trainer that he needed a day.

"I've learned, because I've been through it, that sometimes it's better to lose two days, three days than to lose 10 days, 20 days," Rondon said.

It helped that Jon Lester threw a complete game on Wednesday.

"Yesterday, he did a really good job and they didn't need me," Rondon said of Lester.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.