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Cubs manager Dale Sveum was shot by Robin Yount in hunting accident

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was hunting for quail with buddy RobYount October when he caught blast birdshot his back ear.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was hunting for quail with buddy Robin Yount in October when he caught a blast of birdshot in his back and ear. | Ralph Freso~Getty Images

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Updated: January 6, 2013 10:10AM



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — And Dale Sveum thought he had a bad year before October.

Turns out that 101-loss season in his first year as Cubs manager was only the start of the bleeding for Sveum, who suffered minor injuries in a Dick Cheney-like accident while hunting quail in Arizona with Hall of Fame pal Robin Yount earlier this fall.

‘‘It’s not that big a deal,’’ claimed the famously cool Sveum, who took birdshot in the back and right ear from about 50 yards away. ‘‘Yeah, there was blood. . . .

‘‘The bird got up in front of him, and he lost track of where I was and pulled the trigger and, ‘Uh-oh.’ I was just looking for birds myself. It was behind me, so I got drilled with pellets in the back and one stuck in the ear.’’

Sveum downplayed the incident, suggesting he and longtime hunting buddy Yount have had close calls in the past.

‘‘Well, not that close,’’ he said.

His first reaction: ‘‘Oh, sh--.’’ His second: He started calling Yount ‘‘Dick Cheney.’’

The bottom line: ‘‘He got the bird.’’

He seemed to be referring to the quail.

Marmol support

Trade candidate Carlos Marmol continued to get so-called dreaded votes of confidence in his status as closer Tuesday even as the Cubs closed in on finalizing a two-year, $9.5-million deal for Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa.

A day after team president Theo Epstein said it, Sveum and general manager Jed Hoyer reiterated the point.

‘‘I anticipate if Carlos is on the team, he’ll be our closer, and I anticipate Carlos being here,’’ said Hoyer, who came within a last-minute decision on a bad medical report of trading Marmol for starter Dan Haren a month ago. ‘‘I think he’s going to be our closer. Obviously, a trade could happen at any time. But as we put together our 2013 team, we’re certainly expecting that he’s our closer.’’

Marmol’s $9.8 million salary, command issues in recent years and the Cubs’ contention, according to a source, that they won’t ‘‘give him away’’ would seem to severely limit his trade market.

The buzz

The Cubs’ search for third-base help isn’t getting any easier, with the Alex Rodriguez-challenged New York Yankees rumored to be pursuing Jeff Keppinger and with non-tendered Ian Stewart drawing interest from ‘‘seven or eight’’ teams, according to a source.

◆ Sveum said strikeout-prone prospect Brett Jackson has significantly overhauled his swing this offseason and could push again for a big-league spot. He’ll open the season at Class AAA, Hoyer said.

Matt Garza, who didn’t pitch after July 22 because of a stress reaction near his elbow, starts a throwing program this month, and the Cubs expect him to be on a normal schedule when spring training opens.



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