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Struggling Carlos Marmol to get pep talk from Dale Sveum

MESA AZ - MARCH 8: Carlos Marmol #49 Chicago Cubs pitches during game against Seattle Mariners HoHoKam Stadium March 8

MESA, AZ - MARCH 8: Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the game against the Seattle Mariners at HoHoKam Stadium on March 8, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\140952526.jpg

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Updated: April 15, 2012 8:15AM



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There is no Plan B for the Cubs closer job right now.

It’s Carlos Marmol’s — sink or swim. So far this spring, there’s been a lot more sinking.

Marmol wasn’t around on Tuesday because of a scheduled off day, but after giving up three runs on Monday, his Cactus League ERA sits at 23.63 in three appearances. Manager Dale Sveum will sit down with the right-hander at some point Wednesday.

“I’ll talk to him and see what’s going on,’’ Sveum said. “But concerned? No. Breaking balls like his aren’t going to do a whole lot here in Arizona. You’re always going to struggle with it and you’re going to throw it harder and make it spin more and it’s actually a counter effect.

“His fastball command is the biggest thing. We know the breaking ball will come back when we head back north. Just mainly getting the fastball, getting work and throwing strikes with the fastball.’’

Marmol was visibly upset after the Reds put a three-spot on him, but according to Sveum, there are no concerns with where he is mentally.

“The people that have been around him know that he has been working as hard as he ever has,’’ Sveum said. “It’s a confidence thing.’’

There was plenty of air on the North Side last season, and Marmol still blew a career-high 10 games. So what if he doesn’t get out of this spring rut and carries it into the season?

According to Sveum, they don’t have a backup plan for that.

Opening eyes

Joe Mather has shown he can play numerous positions so far in camp, but it’s what he’s been doing at the plate that has Sveum keeping a close eye on him.

In going 1-for-3 in Tuesday’s win over the Giants, Mather was hitting .500 and looking dominant.

“He’s proven that the athletic ability, the baserunning and obviously the bat is something that fits our team pretty much to a tee right now,’’ Sveum said. “You can tell he’s a baseball player that knows how to run the bases. He comes to play, comes to work every day to make himself a better player and he’s going to be a huge asset.’’

All business

The Cubs have now won six of their last eight games, and will go for their first three-game winning streak of the spring Wednesday against Milwaukee.



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