Cubs’ Sveum will have quick hook if Carlos Marmol struggles
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 3, 2013 9:29PM
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Updated: April 4, 2013 12:00AM
PITTSBURGH — Carlos Marmol is still the Cubs’ closer, but manager Dale Sveum said he told the right-hander he won’t show much patience with Marmol’s command problems.
Marmol was yanked four batters into the ninth inning of Monday’s opener after hitting a batter, giving up a run-scoring hit and then walking a batter.
“We’ve talked, and he knows that we’ve got to throw strikes,” Sveum said. “And there might be occasions where, when you have the weapons out there, you can do things like that. Your starter goes eight, you’re going to do whatever you can to save the lead.”
Pitching coach Chris Bosio had the answer for Marmol’s problems Monday: “We’ll get him right back out there.
“I think it’s magnified because of the struggles that he had [early] last year. But here’s a guy that was on one hell of a roll in the second half. And how we got him on that roll was getting him back out there, just like any other player.
“Baseball’s peaks and valleys. Carlos had what I thought were some pitch-selection issues, which we addressed.”
Bosio mentioned the cold weather Monday as a possible factor. Sveum said it was simply a matter of being unable to throw either his fastball or slider where he wanted.
But Bosio said until the last two or three exhibition outings this spring, Marmol showed the kind of command, confidence and efficiency that led to last year’s stellar second half with a 1.52 ERA and 12 saves in 13 chances.
“You saw a guy that was aggressive with his fastball, threw his slider for strikes,” Bosio said, “and that’s the guy we saw the last four months of the season with a 1.5 ERA.”
Pitcher Matt Garza, who has been sidelined since experiencing a setback with his lat strain more than a month ago, will join the team in Atlanta this weekend to start throwing from a mound for the first time since the setback.
◆ Right-hander Robert Whitenack, who was 7-0 in two minor-league stops for the Cubs in 2011 before suffering an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians. He was placed on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster for infielder Alberto Gonzalez.
◆ The day after adding outfielder Ryan Sweeney, a left-handed hitter, on a minor-league contract, the Cubs signed utility man Donnie Murphy and sent him to Class AAA Iowa.
“He kind of strikes out a little too much for that kind of role,” Sveum said, “but he’s a guy you can rely on defensively, and a little gamer-type guy.”
◆ The Cubs still had tickets available for Monday’s home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.