Bosio comes to Marmol's defense

PITTSBURGH -- Add Chicago Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio to the list of team personnel who still believe Carlos Marmol should be closing games -- at least for now.

"It's the first game of the season," he said before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. "I think it's magnified by the struggles he had last year."

There's little doubt Marmol's struggles are always magnified by his past. But Bosio is quick to point out Marmol's second half last season -- after early struggles -- was very good. He had 12 saves in 13 chances with a sparkling 1.52 ERA.

"How we got him on that roll was getting him back out there just like any other player," Bosio said. "Baseball is peaks and valleys."

Bosio and manager Dale Sveum agreed that Marmol simply struggled with his command in Monday's season opener when he walked one, hit a batter and gave up a base hit before being pulled. James Russell and Kyuji Fujikawa got the last two outs to preserve a 3-1 win for the Cubs. But not before Marmol made it interesting.

"It was a little chilly, for the players, especially, holding a baseball," Bosio said defending Marmol.

This is where Bosio's reasoning starts to break down. The Cubs sent four pitchers to the mound in the cold and three of them were great. Bosio tried to defend a poor end to spring training for Marmol as well.

"We saw a good stretch out of him, towards the end there were some defensive plays that could have been made but at the same time we wanted to see how he would handle it," Bosio said.

He didn't handle it well, giving up 11 hits and nine walks in 10 1/3 innings, including an awful ninth against the Cincinnati Reds in one of his final appearances in March where a 2-1 deficit ballooned to 11-1.

Still, Monday was one game, and without a pennant on the line the Cubs are going to give Marmol another chance.

"We've talked and he knows he has to throw strikes," Sveum said.

Bosio added: "He knows what he's capable of being. One way to find out is to get him right back out there."


The Cubs added a couple of minor league players to their Iowa roster when they signed outfielder Ryan Sweeney and infielder Donnie Murphy. Both were released by teams this spring.

"The reasoning is you get as much talent in the organization as you can," Sveum said.

Sveum called Murphy "a guy you can rely on defensively. A little gamer-type guy." Sweeney, a former White Sox prospect, bats left-handed, something Sveum said the Cubs need in the organization though not at the major league level right now.

The weather:

Game-time temperature on Wednesday was 35 degrees. Players were bundled up while Sveum wore a "heated vest."

"It's not about the cold, sometimes, it's about how much your eyes water," Sveum said. "Especially if there is a breeze in your face."

Alfonso Soriano played in the cold with a cold.

"Little cough," he said. "My nose running. I have to play no matter what."

Relievers jokingly said they would huddle in the bathroom as it's the "only place in the bullpen that's warm."

The quote:

"We're looking for slugging percentage out of platoon situations." -- Sveum, in explaining starting three righties on Wednesday in place of three lefties from Opening Day.