4/7 Fujikawa replaces Marmol as closer
Carlos Marmol is no longer the Cubs closer, and Kyuji Fujikawa is taking over the job. Cubs manager Dale Sveum met Sunday with both pitchers to give them the news. The Cubs had a 5-1 lead Saturday against the Braves but lost, 6-5, when Marmol served up game-tying and game-winning home runs in the ninth to B.J. Upton and Justin Upton, respectively.
Is there a chance Marmol could reclaim the job this year?
“Yeah, there’s a chance,” Sveum said. “Hopefully, Fujikawa takes it and runs with it and does a great job and we don’t have to deal with it. Marmol’s going to pitch in less stressful situations and get his confidence back. You still have seven guys in the bullpen, so he’s obviously going to pitch and end up pitching quite a bit in situations.”
Marmol wasn’t going to give up on getting the job back.
“I’m not going to put my head down,” he said. “Everybody knows what I need to work on, locate my pitches. That’s the thing I need to do.”
The Cubs did have in-house options such as Shawn Camp and James Russell. Fujikawa signed with the Cubs after being the closer in Hanshin for 12 seasons. Asked if he’d ever lost his job there, Fujikawa said, “No.”
“That’s one reason we signed him, in case something like this happened,” Sveum said. “He’s comfortable in getting the last three outs. It’s just kind of the logical thing to do instead of thinking you’re going to do it by committee or anything like that.”
— Carrie Muskat