Carlos Marmol loses Cubs closer job

ATLANTA -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol will no longer close games, manager Dale Sveum announced on Sunday.

Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa will take over the role.

"I came into the season with the mindset of a set-up man," Fujikawa said through his interpreter. "Once Marmol's condition gets better I think there is a chance he'll come back. We all have to fight through it."

Marmol lost his job after giving up game tying and winning home runs to B.J. Upton and Justin Upton in the ninth inning on Saturday.

It was his third appearance of the young season in which he gave up runs; his ERA is 27.00.

It made the decision an easy one for Sveum and the front office.

"We've had three games that have been winnable games this year and all three have been an adventure," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "So the decision was fairly easy."

Marmol and Fujikawa were informed of the switch Sunday morning before the Cubs played the Braves trying to avoid a sweep.

"You can't complain about it," Marmol said of losing his job. "They say it's better for me and for the team. I'll take it. I agree."

Sveum said he wants Fujikawa to keep the job and doesn't want to have to keep going back and forth changing roles.

"Hopefully Fujikawa takes it and runs with it and does a good job so we don't even have to deal with that," Sveum stated.

Marmol lost the closer's role last year in April but regained his form in time for a good finish to the season, saving 20 of 23 games overall.

Fujikawa closed games in Japan for 12 years amassing 196 saves. He signed a two-year contract this past offseason for $9.5 million, while Marmol is signed through this season, making $9.8 million.

"You want to avoid making rash decisions early in the year, but three really bad appearances, even in the middle of summer, would make you at least question whether to remove a closer or make a change," Hoyer said. "OK, so it's three bad appearances, that becomes a trend."

Sveum said he wants Marmol to pitch in "less stressful" situations, starting Sunday. Fujikawa was also hit hard on Saturday, giving up three runs in the eigth inning to pull the Braves within one before Marmol's implosion in the ninth.

"I wasn't very good yesterday," Fujikawa said. "I think the level of play is different than Japan, so I think I need both [the mental and physical part] to be successful."