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Sveum: ‘I don’t really care what people think about me’

Updated: June 18, 2013 12:40AM



ST. LOUIS — Think Dale Sveum’s not a very good manager? Think he’s losing games by mishandling the bullpen? Think he should be fired?

Here’s what Sveum thinks:

“I don’t really care what people think about me,” he said in the aftermath of getting blasted in the Twitterverse for using Carlos Marmol in that whiplash-blown, ninth-inning loss Sunday in New York.

“That’s part of this job. You’re always going to be second-guessed,” he said before the Cubs opened a four-game series against first-place St. Louis on Monday night.

“There’s nothing you can do about that. Players are put in positions to perform, and if they don’t, obviously the decision-making is always going to be second-guessed. It doesn’t matter what the situation is.”

More important for the second-year manager and his job security: His bosses think more like he does than his critics.

If the outside voices are raising the volume and the heat on Sveum, he’s not even close to being on a hot seat with management.

The struggles and use of Marmol — whose $20 million deal expires in 14 weeks — seem of little concern to a front office more focused on long-term rebuilding. Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer admittedly have given Sveum little on the roster to work with, particularly in several every-day positions and the bullpen.

“I think he’d kept the guys really upbeat,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘I think he continues to relate really well with the players. And [as far as] the talent on the team, we’re not up to par right now with the Cardinals and the Reds. Those are really strong and mature organizations, and that’s what we’re trying to get to.

“In the meantime, he’s doing his best with the product that we have. And that’s on Theo and me, the talent.”

That doesn’t mean fans enduring a fourth straight losing season — at premium ballpark prices — aren’t losing their patience.

The decision on Sunday to give Marmol his first save chance since April 23 with closer Kevin Gregg unavailable became an easy target when Marmol had what might actually be his worst blown save yet — allowing two upper-deck home runs to marginal hitters, with a walk and single in between.

Gregg had been used in four straight, and the next-best reliever this year, James Russell, had been used in the eighth for matchup reasons.

“If [rookie] Blake Parker goes in that game and blows a save, then you ask, ‘Why is Blake Parker throwing in a save situation?’ ’’ Hoyer said.

As far as Marmol is concerned, two things seemed certain Monday: He won’t be used in a save situation again if anybody else is available, and the Cubs — who have been unable to trade him in more than a year of trying — aren’t going to release him.

“It’s obviously to that point where we’ve got to try somebody else in that role if Gregg is out,” said Sveum, who plans to keep using him as a secondary setup guy.

“I think he has provided value to the team at different times,” Hoyer said, “but he’s been a significant part of some of the losses that, unfortunately, are a big part of why we are where we are, record-wise.

“As far as his status, I think he has pitched well in lower-leverage situations, and those are important innings as you go through a season.”



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