3/14 Roster moves, Marmol & more
Expect more roster moves next week. The Cubs have four split-squad games in a six-day stretch, then an off day March 21. After that, the pace picks up.
“That’s when you start accelerating everything,” Dale Sveum said. “As an offense, you start doing things you wouldn’t do early in spring, like sacrifice bunting, using the bullpen the way we’ll use it during the season, mixing and matching out of the bullpen. That’s when it starts with 10 days left.”
* Sveum met with Carlos Marmol on Wednesday to talk about his last two outings, which have been shaky.
“I tried to make him relax and everything’s fine,” Sveum said about his chat with the Cubs closer. “It was a great meeting. That’s what it was — it was nothing more than, ‘Don’t worry about all of this. You’ve got a long spring ready and just be ready for the season.'”
* Chris Volstad had a second good outing on Tuesday against the Giants and also impressed Sveum with his hitting. Volstad singled in his first at-bat and scored.
“That was great for a first at-bat of the spring,” Sveum said. “He hit a missile to left field. It ended up being the winning run. It shows you how important pitchers are to helping themselves and helping the team.”
* Jeff Samardzija has pitched well out of the bullpen in the past and the Cubs do need another set-up pitcher but if the right-hander is the best candidate to start, that’s what he’ll do.
“Need isn’t going to dictate the decision whether he makes the starting rotation or not,” Sveum said. “Anybody’s need is always starting pitching. If he proves he can handle that, it’s not going to be a need because of what our bullpen needs.”
— Carrie Muskat