2/19 Marmol gets pep talk, guidance on first day

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol threw his first side session under the watch of new manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio on Sunday, and made them laugh.

The topic was Marmol’s cutter. Last season, when Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach, he would study video of Marmol to prepare for the Cubs-Brewers series. Sveum couldn’t figure out what the heck the right-hander was throwing.

“We were thinking, ‘What is he doing? Is that just a bad slider?’” Sveum said.

Brewers hitters would return to the dugout shaking their heads as well.

Marmol has admitted the cutter gave him problems and was part of the reason his mechanics were messed up. Last season, he was tied for the Major League lead with 10 blown saves.

“He is what he is — he’s an impressive closer but he’s a slider guy with one of the best, unhittable sliders that we’ve seen in a long time,” Sveum said. “That’s what he is and unfortunately sometimes he can get into a lot of pitches in innings because of it, but it’s so devastating he gets out of it, too. You don’t want him doing anything that Carlos Marmol isn’t used to. I think he’ll be back to that this year.”

Bosio didn’t waste any time. On Sunday, he was giving Marmol reminders to get him back in line.

“Chris Bosio has talked to him about a few mechanical things about his shoulders and keeping his shoulders level and things like that,” Sveum said. “He wants to lean back and crank velocity and create arm strength through his shoulders and then he gets out of whack. It’s more just keeping his shoulders in line with the strike zone. I think that will help him tremendously.

“Every time ‘Bos’ mentioned it to him after a scud, right away he got his shoulders back on line and made quality pitches,” Sveum said. “Some guys, it’s big fixes, and some guys, if they take to it in the right language it hits home with them.”

The communication began earlier Sunday when Marmol met with Sveum and Bosio in the manager’s office at Fitch Park. The message: Marmol is one of the veterans now and players will be looking up to him.

“That’s what we talked about and I have to work a little harder and try to be one of the leaders on the team,” Marmol said. “There’s a lot of young guys here.”

He did report in shape, losing 15 pounds after spending the offseason running, working out and riding horses on his ranch in the Dominican Republic.

“I worked hard out there and I’m going to try to work more than the year before and have a better year,” Marmol said.

– Carrie Muskat 

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