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Marmol’s role grows, but he’s hoping for more

Chicago Cubs closing pitcher Carlos Marmol celebrates after defeating Cincinnati Reds 4-3 baseball game Chicago Monday Sept. 5 2011. (AP

Chicago Cubs closing pitcher Carlos Marmol celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 in a baseball game in Chicago, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

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Updated: June 1, 2013 12:41AM

With all the bullpen shuffling in recent days, Carlos Marmol quietly has moved into a larger late-inning role.

With more than four months left in the season, is it possible he could return to the closer role?

“That’s my goal,” he said.

“To be honest with you, I hope not,” manager Dale Sveum said.

Sveum got a lot of laughs for the comment before the game Thursday against the White Sox, but it was more about Kevin Gregg than Marmol.

“Not taking anything away from [Marmol]. He’s pitched really good in what he’s had to do,” Sveum said. “But that obviously means that Gregg’s not doing a very good job, and he’s done a great job.”

Or, more likely, it would mean Gregg (6-for-6 in saves with 0.63) is gone before the trade deadline July 31.

“We’ll cross those bridges when we get to them,” Sveum said. “We’re worried about today. I’m not worried about what happens in trade deadlines and all that.”

Marmol, who lost his closer job a week into the season, has added motivation for regaining his old job as he tries to build value as a free agent.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s the job I’ve been doing for three years, four years. I want to go back there. But I’m just trying to get people out first.”

Marmol has a 1.77 ERA in 20 outings since losing his ninth-inning role, albeit with 26 runners allowed via hit (12), walk (12) or hit by pitch (two) in that span.

He pitched a 1-2-3 eighth against the 3-4-5 hitters in the Sox’ lineup Thursday.

This has been one of Marmol’s tougher seasons, with a sexual-assault civil case still unresolved, the quick demotion and that day a few weeks ago when he and his agents were victims of social-media eavesdropping.

“It’s getting better,” he said, leaning back with his feet propped up in the clubhouse. “I don’t want to say it’s tough. There’s a lot of time left this season.”

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