Marmol saves Cubs’ 4-3 win, but Sveum won’t name him closer
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2013 10:09PM
Chicago Cubs' Luis Valbuena celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting the tie-breaking solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Miami. The Cubs won 4-3. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Updated: April 25, 2013 11:36PM
MIAMI – Forget it. Don’t go there.
Just because you saw Carlos Marmol pitch the ninth inning Thursday with a one-run lead doesn’t mean he’s the Cubs’ closer again.
Manager Dale Sveum made that clear after the 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins that he’s still going with a closer-by-committee approach and used Marmol only because he was the best available reliever for the matchups he had in the ninth.
Marmol doesn’t seem to care.
“I feel great, dawg,” the embattled reliever said, still smiling about a half-hour after ending the game with a strikeout of star slugger Giancarlo Stanton and one of his more emphatic fist pumps of the season.
Ready to be the closer again?
“I’ll take the ball whenever he gives me the ball. It’s not really a big deal for me,” Marmol said. “If he’s going to give me the opportunity, I’m going to take it, like today.”
Sveum even joked at one point that Marmol – the $9.8-million ex-closer who has been demoted from the role three times in as many seasons -- might be better off not knowing whether he’s the closer or not.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Marmol said with a smile when told that. “I don’t know what game he’s going to play. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Marmol appeared to be the choice for the ninth even if the game had been tied.
Luis Valbuena, the guy who might turn Ian Stewart into a bench player, turned the ninth into a save situation for the warming Marmol by hitting a two-out homer off right-hander Steve Cishek in the top of the inning.
“I tried to hit a homer on that pitch right there,” said Valbuena, who thrust his right arm into the air as he rounded the bases. “I didn’t want to play extra innings. …
“I have to do something to win the game, that was my focus: ‘Come on, let’s go, do something right here!’ “
Before the game, Sveum called Valbuena “one of our most consistent players” and said it might be tough for the rehabbing Stewart to unseat Valbuena when he returns from the disabled list, presumably in the next week or so.
“He’s going to have to earn it,” Sveum said of Stewart.
When told what his manager said, Valbuena said, “I’m ready every day. I can’t make that decision. I’ll play wherever he wants me to play. I played [Wednesday] at second base. I’m ready to play every day.”