Results tagged ‘ Rafael Dolis ’

5/8 Dolis, Russell could share closer role

Dale Sveum doesn’t have a specific check list of things he wants Carlos Marmol to do to return to his role as the closer. In fact, rookie Rafael Dolis and lefty James Russell could take over for the rest of the season. What Sveum wants to see is not just a confident pitcher but also Marmol throwing something other than his slider.

“[He threw a] 3-2 slider to a guy who can’t hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Sveum said of Marmol’s outing Monday. “Those are the kind of things I want to start seeing before I put him back in the closer’s role, to be able to throw a 3-2 fastball and see how far it can get hit.”

Dolis has a win and a save in his last two outings.

“I’m not going to make change to make change,” Sveum said. “If Dolis is doing well and [James] Russell is doing well in that role, I won’t make change to make change.”

Theo Epstein said he liked how Marmol said he responded to the fans’ booing Monday night by turning it into something positive and motivating him.

“I think everyone has to recognize he wants to succeed as much as anyone else,” Epstein said. “No one wants to go out there and fail, especially in a role where you let your teammates down. He’s paid a lot of money to do a job and he’s got a lot of support around him, so it’s up to him to put the work in and fix himself. I haven’t seen any signs of him backing down so as long as he gives the effort and faces his challenges head on, we’re going to support him and get him where he needs to be to help us.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/4 Marmol out as closer

When your closer leads the team in walks, that’s not a good sign. Dale Sveum had seen enough, and called Carlos Marmol into his office on Friday to tell the right-hander that for now, he was no longer the Cubs closer.

“I just told Marmol be ready to pitch at any time,” Sveum said Friday. “It just got to that point to where we have to get him productive in some role. He was fine with it and understood. Hopefully, we can get him going and give him another chance.”

Part of the problem is that Marmol keeps throwing the slider and on Thursday in Cincinnati, might have escaped the mess in the ninth with a well located fastball. Bottom line, he has to throw strikes. Against the Reds, Marmol blew a 3-0 lead and gave up three runs, and the Cubs eventually lost, 4-3, in 10 innings. He has now walked 12 over 8 2/3 innings.

James Russell and rookie Rafael Dolis will share the duties, depending on matchups.

“You always hope somebody steps up and takes control of any situation and any role you give somebody,” Sveum said. “It’s not the easiest thing to do in the world, to get the last three outs in the game. We’re going to play it by ear and whatever matchups come up in the ninth inning, that’s who we’ll use.”

Using Russell in that role will severely limit the Cubs. He’s the only left-hander. Sveum is stuck because the Cubs want to keep Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo, who is trying to make the jump from Class A to the big leagues, and neither Michael Bowden nor Shawn Camp have options left.

Will Marmol ever get his job back?

“He knows he has to get better and find it,” Sveum said. “I left that window open for him. If he starts pitching well and getting command back and stuff like that, there’s no reason I wouldn’t put him back in the closing role if he finds it again.”

Sveum continued his conversation with Marmol in left field during batting practice, and then Kerry Wood talked to Marmol on the field as well Friday.

— Carrie Muskat 

4/28 Extra bases

* Rafael Dolis picked up his first save with two scoreless innings Friday against the Phillies. Dolis got his first win last week as well. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first Cubs pitcher to record both a win and a save in his first 10 career games since Todd Wellemeyer did in 2003.

* Starlin Castro has eight stolen bases and Tony Campana has five, and they are the first Cubs duo with five apiece in the first month since 2006. Juan Pierre and Derrek Lee did so that April. So far, the Cubs have 15 stolen bases. They did not swipe their 15th last year until May 30, Game No. 52.

* Pitching matchups vs. the Phillies:

Saturday: Randy Wells vs. Joe Blanton

Sunday: Matt Garza vs. Kyle Kendrick

Monday: Chris Volstad vs. Vance Worley

— Carrie Muskat 

4/11 When you’re smiling …

At one point in the seventh inning Tuesday night, Geovany Soto made Rafael Dolis laugh. The Brewers were threatening to add on after Dolis walked the first two batters. Soto, the Cubs catcher, went out to the mound to talk to Dolis, who was making his second appearance this year and third of his career, to make sure the right-hander was breathing.

“I told him, ‘Feel like you’re playing Wiffle ball in the Dominican and it’s cold because we just had a hurricane and there’s no power,'” Soto said Wednesday. “I was trying to get his mind away from [the game]. Maybe he’s feeling a little pressure or is nervous or is cold. I was trying to get him away from that so he could regroup.”

Telling Dolis there’s a hurricane sounds like an odd way to expect him to relax.

“I told him the power is out, the conditions are really bad,” Soto said. “We can only be outside playing Wiffle ball. I said, ‘This guy’s got two homers off you so you want to strike him out with Wiffle ball.’ He’s looking at me, like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I just tried to calm him down. When you’re calm and feel comfortable, that’s when your talent comes out. I wanted him to feel like he was at home. He has unbelievable talent and an unbelievable fastball that I want to come out.”

Dolis, who is from the Dominican Republic, has seen his share of hurricanes. But he laughed again when asked about Soto’s efforts. The right-hander did give up a run in the seventh and ended the inning by striking out Nyjer Morgan.

Soto also spent some time on the mound Tuesday night with Lendy Castillo, 23, who pitched the ninth. Castillo spent last season at Class A and is making a huge leap to the big leagues.

“It’s going to take a little bit for these guys,” Soto said. “I remember my first time when I was in the big leagues and my knees were shaking a little bit. It goes like that. You can’t teach experience. You just have to go out there and play.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/4 Final bullpen makeup

The Cubs will go with 14 position players and 11 pitchers to start the season, with Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo and Rafael Dolis making the Opening Day roster for the first time in their young careers. The rest of the bullpen will be Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, James Russell and recent acquisition Shawn Camp. Russel is the only left-hander and general manager Jed Hoyer said they are on the lookout for another one.

“Ideally, we would’ve been able to find another lefty,” Hoyer said Wednesday. “We haven’t matched up yet. I think it’s safe to say it’s something we’ll be looking to do during the first part of the season to try to find another lefty. Russell is a very good left-hander but having two would make life easier for Dale [Sveum, Cubs manager].”

Castillo, 22, was selected last December in the Rule 5 Draft from the Phillies organization and the converted shortstop will be making the jump from Class A to the big leagues. This spring, the right-hander appeared in 11 games, giving up five earned runs on 12 hits and 10 walks over 13 innings. Dolis, 24, was charged with one run on three hits and six walks over 10 innings in nine Cactus League games. He spent last season at Double-A Tennessee, where he was 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 51 games, including four starts.

Camp was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays this spring. He appeared in 11 games total, and gave up five runs on 16 hits and five walks over 14 1/3 innings. Rodrigo Lopez was in Chicago for Wednesday’s workout and projected as the long man in the bullpen but he will not be on the Opening Day roster.

— Carrie Muskat

3/30 Bullpen decisions

While all the position players on the Cubs know whether they’ve made the 25-man roster, the bullpen is still in flux. While others were bringing personal items to be packed on the truck to Chicago, relievers like Rafael Dolis must wait. He doesn’t know if he’s going to make the Opening Day roster or go to the Minor Leagues.

“They just said, ‘Pitch, do your job,'” Dolis said.

Everyone else was packing their gear. How long will it take Dolis to pack?

“I can take five minutes, three minutes,” Dolis said, laughing. “I can take one minute — or just leave all my clothes.”

There are still 11 relievers who are technically on the spring roster. We know Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell are in. However, Casey Coleman has been told he’s going to Triple-A Iowa and Frankie De La Cruz also was in the Minor League camp and not expected to make the Opening Day roster. The list of relievers remaining includes Manuel Corpas, Alberto Cabrera, Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, Rodrigo Lopez, and Rafael Dolis.

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Cubs 2, Padres 0; Dbacks 3, Cubs 2

What went right:

Paul Maholm struck out six over five scoreless innings against the Padres in Mesa. Carlos Marmol, pitching in his first game since March 20, gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one in one inning. Bryan LaHair, who had five hits in his last six at-bats, hit a RBI double in the first. In Scottsdale, Blake DeWitt was 2-for-4 with a double while Scott Maine walked two and struck out one in one inning.

What went wrong:

Cubs missed a chance in the second when they loaded bases with two outs and Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer got Starlin Castro to fly out. Castro did draw a walk in the first, his first this spring, and doubled in the fifth.


“I just want to stay where I’m at. I want to stay consistent with the breaking ball. I’ve had a good spring working on that, probably more than I have normally in Spring Training, and just command. You need to have a second pitch and have command of your fastball when you break camp. I’m trying to be fresh for the start of the year.” — Kerry Wood on his spring game plan


* The Cubs acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Camp, who was released by the Mariners on March 21. He may not be the only pitcher added before the regular season begins. The Cubs are looking at other options for the bullpen. Rafael Dolis could make the team. He picked up the save in Mesa and Dale Sveum has raved about his stuff this spring. Earlier this spring, the Cubs claimed Frankie De La Cruz off waivers from the Brewers. They may not be done as far as they try to find a workable bullpen.

Trever Miller was released on Monday, which left James Russell and Scott Maine as the only left-handed relievers still in camp. At least one of them will stay. Marmol and Kerry Wood are set, which would leave four openings. Lendy Castillo, 22, the Rule 5 pickup who is a converted shortstop, has a 3.12 ERA in eight appearances and has shown a lot of poise for a pitcher who last season was on a Class A roster in only his second season of pitching. Casey Coleman pitched well Monday against the Padres, giving up one hit and striking out two over two innings of relief. He could be the long man. So could Rodrigo Lopez if he’s not in the rotation.

* Kerry Wood is slated to pitch Saturday. It’s been his plan to cut back on Cactus League innings to prepare for the regular season.

Up next:

Matt Garza will make his fifth spring start on Tuesday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to face the Reds. Garza did not give up an earned run over five innings in his last outing, and has eight strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings. The game will be broadcast on

— Carrie Muskat

9/19 It’s official: Clevenger, Dolis added to roster

The Cubs made it official and selected the contract of catcher Steve Clevenger and recalled right-handed pitcher Rafael Dolis from Double-A Tennessee. Clevenger will wear No. 51; Dolis No. 66. The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 40 players, while the active roster stands at 32 players.
Clevenger, 25, reaches the big leagues for the first time in his six-year professional career. He was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 Draft. A left-handed batter and right-handed thrower, he was a mid-season Southern League All-Star for the Smokies for the second year in a row, batting .295 with 27 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 39 RBIs and 39 strikeouts in 95 games. 

Clevenger also played at Triple-A Iowa, and hit .407 in 25 games. Overall, he hit .319 this season. He’s a career .308 hitter in six Minor League seasons with the Cubs.

Dolis, 23, joins the first Major League roster of his pro career after earning Southern League mid-season and post-season honors in 2011.  The righthander went 8-5 with 17 saves and a 3.22 ERA in 51 appearances (four starts) with the Smokies.  He tied for third in the league in saves and tied for 11th in wins. Dolis limited opponents to a .227 batting average, and gave up two home runs in 72 2/3 innings pitched. Originally signed by the Cubs on August 6, 2004, out of the Dominican Republic, his career was slowed when he needed Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on July 6, 2007.

— Carrie Muskat

9/19 Clevenger, Dolis to join Cubs

The Cubs will add catcher Steve Clevenger and pitcher Rafael Dolis to the roster on Monday now that their season with Double-A Tennessee is over. Mobile beat Tennessee on Sunday to claim the Southern League Championship. Clevenger, a converted catcher, batted .295 with five homers, 27 doubles and 39 RBIs in 95 games, while Dolis was 8-5 with 17 saves in 19 opportunities and a 3.22 ERA in 51 games with the Smokies.

Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken said Monday he was proud of the fact that Clevenger is the 14th player the team has picked in the First-Year Player Draft since 2006 to reach the big leagues. A shortstop when he was tabbed in the seventh round in 2006, Clevenger switched to catching in 2007. Wilken joked that when selected, he told Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita that Clevenger “runs like a catcher” and not a middle infielder.

“The one thing that was constant was that [Clevenger] was a good hitter,” Wilken said.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has decided to keep the Cubs’ player development staff intact for 2012 while he searches for a new general manager. Fleita recently received a four-year contract extension while Wilken is under contract for next year and on Monday, was assured that the team wants him to stay.

“I definitely think they’re going in the right direction,” Wilken said. “I’d love to finish my career here. Tom has shown confidence in our department. He’s been real supportive.

“There’s a lot of good people over here still,” Wilken said of the Cubs staff. “Hopefully, we’ll find a general manager we can get behind as well and really start progressing foward. We need to get better.”

What Wilken is looking for now are some “roster changers” — middle of the order pitchers and hitters.

— Carrie Muskat


8/17 Minor matters

Jeff Samardzija gave up one unearned run on four hits over six innings in Iowa’s 5-3 win over Fresno Monday. Marquez Smith, Brad Snyder and Robinson Chirinos all homered to back Samardzija, now 10-2 with a 3.05 ERA. Snyder had two hits, including his 20th home run, and two RBIs.

Rafael Dolis gave up seven runs on five hits over 3 2/3 innings in Tennessee’s 8-2 loss to Chattanooga. Brandon Guyer had three hits and extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

DJ LeMahieu had three hits but it wasn’t enough as Daytona lost 5-3 to Tampa. LeMahieu notched his 13th three-hit game of the season.

One day after hitting for the cycle, Jae-Hoon Ha had three hits in Peoria’s 4-0 win over Kane County. Su-Min Jung threw three scoreless innings but Jeffrey Antigua picked up the win, pitching five scoreless innings in relief.

Juan Yasser Serrano threw five shutout innings, giving up one hit, in Boise’s 7-3 loss to Everett. Serrano struck out six.

Austin Reed threw four scoreless innings in Mesa’s 5-2 win over the Angels. Mesa totaled 11 hits. Joseph Zeller picked up the win with three innings in relief.

— Carrie Muskat