Both Camp and Russell, two of the North Side’s unsung heroes this year, were instrumental in the Cubs’ second straight win over the Padres on Tuesday afternoon. Camp relieved starter Jeff Samardzija with the tying run on third base and nobody out in the eighth inning, getting three outs while securing the lead for the Cubs’ starter.
“You can’t say enough about Shawn Camp this year,” said manager Dale Sveum. “We put him in all these different roles and the way he gets out left handed hitters. The fact of the matter is he is probably our MVP up to this point.”
Camp rarely gets any attention outside of the Cubs’ clubhouse, but he has appeared in 24 games, which puts him on pace for 80 appearances.
“He was always had a rubber arm and we are able to get him up and down and back to back to back days,” Sveum said. “Nothing really seems to faze him.”
The veteran pitcher has allowed only three of 15 inherited runners to score while garnering four holds for the Cubs’ beaten-down bullpen.
“I know my role is to be versatile, and even though it is a tough job, you have to have a short-term memory,” Camp said. “I think that is the toughest thing for young relievers to learn because there is only a short window of opportunity, and these guys should take advantage of it.”
Russell, who secured his first career save Tuesday, has also been used in many different roles.
“I have worked out hard, so … I want (to pitch often),” Russell said. “I kind of had a heads up from (the team) that I might be one of those guys, so I trained myself to be one.”
< p>Russell’s save was only the team’s seventh in 15 opportunities in 2012. Sveum said that he will use a bullpen by committee for now that will consist of Russell, Camp and Casey Coleman and the end of games. Former closer Carlos Marmol will have to earn his way back to the closer’s role by establishing his fastball before Sveum will consider putting him back in the closers role.