Marmol Out as Cubs’ Closer? And Other News Bits

Carlos Marmol’s days as the Cubs’ closer could be over, for now. Dale Sveum addressed the Carlos Marmol situation after he served up two home runs to the Upton Brothers in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Braves. Kyuji Fujikawa had his first bad outing in a Cubs’ uniform and surrendered three runs in the eighth that cut the Cubs’ four-run lead into a one-run advantage. Fujikawa does not appear to be the primary option to replace Marmol.

Dale Sveum said the coaching staff would talk about the options for the ninth inning. James Russell and Shawn Camp appear to be the first options. When asked what was wrong with Carlos Marmol, Sveum said, “If I knew that, I’d be a genius. When he’s throwing strikes it’s getting hit now too.”

Jed Hoyer met with Dale Sveum after Saturday night’s game.

Ian Stewart

Dale Sveum addressed Ian Stewart’s progress on Saturday and said he could join the team in two-three weeks. Ian Stewart played in an Extended Spring Training game on Saturday, and was able to hit. Stewart DH’d and the Cubs will decide the next step in his rehab process.

ESPN Chicago reported that Stewart is at least two weeks away from returning to the team.

Theo Epstein addressed part of the reason why they brought Ian Stewart back. According to the Tribune, the Cubs felt comfortable gambling on Stewart because of the way Luis Valbuena played last season.

Matt Garza

Matt Garza has re-joined the team and is scheduled to throw his second bullpen session on Sunday after being shut down on February 17. Garza says he feels great and is looking to begin a rehab assignment soon. It should take Garza around 30 days to be ready to pitch in a big league game. If he does not have any further setbacks he should be able to reach his goal … Garza is pushing to join the Cubs’ rotation in early May.

June Draft

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have narrowed the list of players they are looking at taking with the second pick in June’s draft.

The report indicated the Cubs have cut their list to six players that include Georgia outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier. Both outfielders worked out for the Cubs this week and Theo Epstein was on hand to watch Mark Appel on Friday night.

Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod reportedly visited the homes of both Meadows and Frazier.

According to Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs watched Clint Frazier play on Wednesday then held a workout for him the next day.

Oklahoma right-handed pitcher Jonathan Gray and Indiana State southpaw Sean Manaea are also thought to be in the mix for the Cubs with the second pick in the upcoming draft.

News Bits

Donnie Murphy and Ryan Sweeney made their Iowa Cubs’ debuts on Saturday night. Sweeney went 3-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a RBI.

Juan Carlos Paniagua is still dealing with visa issues and has not reported to Arizona. Paniagua is in the Dominican Republic while waiting for a visa. Baseball America reported that Paniagua will likely receive his visa at some point so he will be able to pitch in the Cubs’ organization but right now there is no timetable for his arrival.

Darwin Barney took batting practice and fielding practice on Saturday. Barney is on track to return from the DL on April 14. The five stitches in Barney’s left knee are expected to be removed this week.

Jeff Samardzija likes the idea of Wrigley Field having a jumbotron and said it is a modern day necessity. Samardzija did not realize that putting up a big screen would be as complicated has it has been.

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Quote of the Day

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