Results tagged ‘ Sean Marshall ’

4/15 Still looking for 8th inning solution

Carlos Marmol threw the best Lou Piniella has seen the right-hander throw on Wednesday when he struck out the side in the Brewers ninth. Why?

“Because he’s nice and rested,” Piniella said of his closer, who was used as a set-up pitcher the previous three seasons. “He doesn’t have to overthrow.”

But could Marmol go two innings? The Cubs are having some trouble finding a pitcher to shut opponents down in the eighth.

“I think very few guys in baseball — very, very few — can do that eighth and ninth inning and pitch with any regularity at all,” Piniella said. “We have to solve our eighth inning solution. Marmol, with two outs in the eighth to get a dangerous hitter out, yeah, why not?”

Piniella isn’t necessarily expecting one of the other right-handers in the pen to step up, and said John Grabow and Sean Marshall will be called upon for that role.

Don’t be surprised to see Marmol going three games in a row.

“We can use him three days in a row — why not?” Piniella said. “Billy Martin used to use pitchers 15 days in a row. What you have to worry about is pitch counts. If pitch counts are heavy. If you have three easy innings of 10, 12, 15 pitches and you need him to save a game on the fourth day, why not?”

— Carrie Muskat

4/14 Caridad on DL, Gray joins team

Esmailin Caridad was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 12, because of inflammation in his right forearm. The right-hander said he felt it Monday. Jeff Gray, acquired from the Athletics for Jake Fox and Aaron Miles, was called up from Triple-A Iowa and added to the 25-man roster.

“I’ll use him the way I use the rest of these guys,” Lou Piniella said of Gray, who was slowed this spring because of a groin strain. “Get him in there and let him pitch. We have a little sorting out to do with our bullpen and we’re in the process of doing that.”

The Cubs came into the season thinking Caridad would be the leading set-up pitcher. Now, Piniella will call on pitchers based on the best matchup but he did say he will rely on John Grabow and Sean Marshall.

“The right-handers, will give them all opportunities,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat


4/7 Tough loss

The Cubs are 0-2 after losing 3-2 to the Braves Wednesday night. They also began the 2008 season 0-2 and would eventually recover to win a National League-leading 97 games and make the playoffs. The New York Yankees started the 2009 season 0-2, losing to Baltimore, and won the World Series. Wednesday was a tough loss but not the end of the world.

“It hurts,” Alfonso Soriano said. “We have to come back with more energy.”

And hopefully avoid double plays. The Cubs have hit into five double plays in the first two games.

Sean Marshall has struck out seven in 3 2/3 innings in two games. A reporter asked Piniella if he might consider changing the lefty’s role.

“We’ve just played two games,” Piniella snapped. “We’re not in our 22nd game or our 42nd game. We’ve played two games, for God’s sake. What do you want? Roles changed in two games? It was a tough loss and we’ll leave it at that.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/7 What I did on my day off

Sean Marshall had a new toy Wednesday. He took advantage of the off day Tuesday to buy an iPad. And the Cubs lefty loves it, and had high praise for’s At Bat app. After watching Marshall give a demonstration, I know what I want for Christmas.

— Carrie Muskat

3/27 Marshall OK with relief role

Sean Marshall is OK with the news that he’s in the Cubs bullpen and not the rotation.

“I can’t be disappointed,” Marshall said. “I’m still in the Major Leagues and I obviously have some value as a pitcher. We do have a young bullpen and I do have some experience, although not as much as a guy like John Grabow. I think I can help the pitchers down there and use my experience to my advantage to get guys out.”

On Friday, Lou Piniella tabbed Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva for the rotation, and assigned Marshall and Jeff Samardzija to the pen. All four had expressed a desire to start.

“I realize I am an asset in the bullpen,” Marshall said. “I enjoy coming into the game in big situations and enjoy getting to work on a little more regular basis than you would as a starter and especially as a fifth starter.”

He was the fifth starter at the beginning of last season and was skipped a couple times. Marshall also won’t be the only lefty in the pen. Besides Grabow, James Russell appears to have locked up a spot.

“From the beginning of spring, it was a competition,” Marshall said of the battle between the four pitchers. “I tried my best to win the competition. I realize I did pitch well and our bullpen is maybe lacking just a touch in experience. I can help out there. You can’t be disappointed. I’m pitching right now as good as I can and I feel I’m improving. Hopefully by Opening Day, I’ll be as good as I can get.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Samardzija ready to roll

Jeff Samardzija admits he’s a little stubborn and he would prefer to start than pitch in relief. But the right-hander accepted the news that he will be in the bullpen on Opening Day with the Cubs.

“Obviously, we had goals that we wanted to do and set for spring,” Samardzija said Friday. “It’s a change of plans. I’m actually excited. It’ll be good to go out there and get in the game today [in relief]. We’ll work to make this ‘pen the way we want it.”

Samardzija said he understood the decision was made to benefit the team.

“We just want to win games,” Samardzija said. “[Piniella] felt that would be the best way for me to help this team out and that’s what we’ll do.”

He was successful in the bullpen in 2008, appearing in 26 games and compiling a 2.28 ERA that year.

“There’s still a lot to learn about being in the pen,” said Samardzija, who has picked up tips from Kerry Wood, Bob Howry and Kevin Gregg.

Plus, Piniella told Samardzija this doesn’t mean he’ll never start in the Majors again.

“Again, we go back to my stubborn side,” Samardzija said. “Trust me, I’m just a competitive guy and everything we talk about starting just has to do with me being a competitive guy and I get my mind set on things. You have to be like that. If you don’t have that edge in professional sports or have an idea of where you want to be, then things are going to slip by. I just want to win a lot of baseball games. It doesn’t matter what position you’re playing or if you’re a starter or reliever or closer, if you’re winning a lot of ballgames, you’re having a lot of fun.”

Would he be better off in the Minors, starting on a regular basis?

“There’s way more to be learned throwing every other day in the bullpen [in the big leagues] then there is in Triple-A,” Samardzija said. “I’ve done that. I’ve done well down there. Mike Mason is a great pitching coach and I love working with him and he’s done a lot of things for me. Where I’m at now, it’s not so much that but being on the mound in big league games. What you learn up here is second to none.”

The competition for the two spots in the rotation came down to Samardzija, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall. Who would Samardzija pick?

“Greg Maddux and anyone else he wanted to pick,” Samardzija said.

— Carrie Muskat


3/26 Silva, Gorzelanny to start

Lou Piniella made his picks and Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny will be in the rotation at the start of the season while Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall go to the bullpen. The team also sent seven players to the Minor League camp, and it appears that lefty James Russell has made the big league team. The Cubs sent Jeff Gray, Marcos Mateo and John Gaub to the Minors.

— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Gorzelanny: "I made major strides"

Will it be Tom Gorzelanny or Sean Marshall in the Cubs rotation? Who will Lou Piniella pick between Carlos Silva and Jeff Samardzija? A decision was expected Friday on the makeup of the pitching staff as the Cubs determine which two among the four — Gorzelanny, Marshall, Silva and Samardzija — will be in the rotation and which pair goes into the bullpen.

Gorzelanny made his final bid on Thursday against the D-Backs. He served up a leadoff homer to Conor Jackson on a 1-1 pitch in the first, then retired the next eight batters before Jackson hit a double with two outs in the third. “He had my number,” Gorzelanny said of Jackson.

Acquired last July from the Pirates, Gorzelanny went six innings, the longest outing this spring by a Cubs starter. He gave up two runs on five hits and one walk, striking out four.

“All I can ask for is to pitch well and I hope that’s the case,” Gorzelanny said. “Wherever they need me, I’ll do my best. If I get to be in the rotation, I’ll run with it and try to claim a spot and keep it — that’s my objective right now.”

He threw 73 pitches, and said he still needs to build up his pitch count. He’s still learning and is soaking up info from people like Greg Maddux, now an assistant with the Cubs, and pitchers like Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. Thursday was very encouraging to Gorzelanny.

“I felt I was in the zone a lot and I wasn’t trying to overthrow and I wasn’t trying to do too much,” he said. “I felt I made some major strides today. There’s always more to do and more to work on.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/24 Marshall states his case

Sean Marshall made his final pitch to win a spot in the Cubs rotation on Wednesday. The lefty gave up one unearned run on three hits and one walk over four innings against the Rangers in Surprise. He struck out five.

Lefty Tom Gorzelanny starts on Thursday in Tucson and a decision was expected on Friday. It’s down to Marshall vs. Gorzelanny. Lou Piniella wants at least one lefty in the rotation.

“I don’t know,” Marshall said about whether he’ll be in the rotation or the ‘pen. “My attitude is always to keep a positive attitude whatever role I’m in and help the team win some ballgames.

“I pitched pretty well today,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I can be the perfect candidate to start but I love starting and I want to start because I like giving the team a chance to win. As long as I keep building and keep getting better and keep getting guys out, I’ll have no problems.”

Marshall mixed in some split-finger pitches on Wednesday, and felt they were effective. He dropped a few slow curves and some “sidearm drop down” curves to get some of the strikeouts.

“As long as [the curve] is working and I can continue to use that pitch and my slider, I can get guys out in relief or guys out starting,” Marshall said. “We’ll see.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/24 Nady to play OF in Minors game

Xavier Nady will play in the outfield for one of the Cubs’ Minor League teams at Fitch Park Wednesday. Nady, coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, most likely will be limited in throws. The rest of the team is headed to Surprise for the second straight day, this time facing the Rangers. The lineup is: RF Fukudome, 2B Fontenot, 1B Lee, DH Millar, CF Byrd, LF Soriano, 3B Tracy, C Soto, SS Blanco. Sean Marshall is starting.

— Carrie Muskat