3/22 Marmol expects to pitch Monday

Carlos Marmol, pulled from Tuesday’s game because of cramps in his right hand, said he expected to get back on schedule and pitch in a game Monday. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed no significant nerve injury. The medical staff wanted Marmol to undergo the MRI as a precautionary measure.

“My hand is fine,” Marmol said Thursday. “I feel great today and yesterday, too. The MRI and everything went good.”

Marmol said he’s had some cramping in his hand before. The MRI was done in his neck and shoulders. Marmol said he felt some tightness in his neck.

“They checked my neck and did the MRI of my neck,” Marmol said. “I felt a little tightness in my neck and that’s the reason they did that. Everything was fine.”

He started the seventh against the Rangers at HoHoKam Park on Tuesday and got the first two batters out, then hit Chris Robinson with a pitch. Marmol threw two pitches to Mike Olt and manager Dale Sveum noticed the pitcher flexing his right hand. Sveum and athletic trainer Ed Halbur went to the mound and the right-hander was lifted, although Marmol argued to stay in the game.

“After that [pitch], I felt great,” Marmol said Thursday.

Sveum said when he first saw Marmol’s reaction, he was worried that the injury was more serious.

“Thank God it was just [a hand cramp] — that was kind of a throw that looked like an elbow thing,” Sveum said.

“I never had tightness before — I’m getting old, man,” Marmol said, laughing.

The right-hander has appeared in at least 75 games the last four seasons and the Cubs are hoping new pitching coach Chris Bosio can get the closer back on track. Marmol led the National League with 10 blown saves last season and has had trouble with his breaking pitches in Arizona. The problem isn’t overwork. Marmol likes to pitch.

“I’m going to continue to pitch every day they ask me to,” he said. “I’ll pitch everytime they give me the ball. That’s how I like it. I hope they do that all my career.”

He has not given up a run in his last three Cactus League outings after serving up seven in 1 2/3 innings in his previous two, March 8 and March 12.

“Right now, I feel great on the mound,” Marmol said. “I’m working on my pitch. The slider was a little better [Tuesday]. I feel great. I’m where I’d like to be. Everything’s going fine.”

— Carrie Muskat

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