Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Could Marmol return to Cubs' closer role?

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

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

"That's my goal," he said.

"To be honest with you, I hope not," said his manager, Dale Sveum.

Sveum got a lot of laughs for the comment before Thursday's game, but it was more about Mr. Perfect, Kevin Gregg, than it was about Marmol.

"I mean, 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 0.00) is gone in a trade at the July deadline.

"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 at least modest value looking ahead at free agency in the fall.

"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 - get comfortable out there and get people out."

He says he's comfortable now and has a 1.77 ERA in 20 appearances since losing his ninth-inning role, albeit with 26 runners allowed via hit (12), walk (12) and hit batters (2) in that span.

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

It's been one of Marmol's tougher seasons, with a sexual-assault civil case still unresolved, the quick demotion and even 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. It's too early. There's a lot of time left this season."

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on May 30, 2013 3:47 PM.

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