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Theo Epstein: Can’t blame Dale Sveum for ‘imperfect solutions’

Dale Sveum argues with first-base umpire Tim Timmons after Mariners’ Brad Miller (left) was ruled safe pickoff play.  | OtGreule

Dale Sveum argues with first-base umpire Tim Timmons after the Mariners’ Brad Miller (left) was ruled safe on a pickoff play.  | Otto Greule Jr.-Getty Images

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Updated: August 2, 2013 7:37AM

SEATTLE — Manager Dale Sveum has taken a lot of heat from the outside this season over bullpen use and some of the Cubs’ hitting problems.

But team president Theo Epstein strongly backed his second-year manager Sunday before the Cubs wrapped up a three-game series in Seattle with their fourth win in five days and a third consecutive series win.

‘‘Managers oftentimes take heat for things that are beyond their control,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘We’ve given him an imperfect roster. That’s just the reality. We have a lot of talented players but an imperfect roster, so he’s oftentimes put in situations where he’s got to choose between imperfect solutions.’’

The Sveum critics were out in force the last two weeks after Sveum used Carlos Marmol in a save situation for the first time nearly two months on June 16 in New York. That led to Marmol’s career-worst blown save and, eventually, a decision to eat the final $5 million of Marmol’s contract to cut ties with him.

‘‘I’m sure he didn’t want to necessarily use Marmol in high-leverage situations, but there comes a point where other guys need rest or have already been used, or he’s got to look a day ahead,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘I think it’s unfair with only partial information to jump to conclusions about Dale’s managerial abilities just based on using Marmol in a certain spot here and there.’’

Seven other Cubs pitchers have blown saves this year.

‘‘Dale’s steady at the helm of the ship,’’ Epstein said, ‘‘and done a nice job.’’


Shawn Camp has issued a walk in three straight appearances. In five since returning from the disabled list (toe), he has allowed four earned runs and eight hits, including three homers, in 6 1/3 innings.

◆ The Cubs haven’t lost an interleague series this season, going 10-4 in those games.

◆ Epstein wouldn’t provide details of talks with No. 2 overall draft pick Kris Bryant and adviser Scott Boras but seemed optimistic the Cubs will get the lefty slugger signed by the July 12 deadline.

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