By Sam Zuba-
WRIGLEY FIELD (CBS) Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein had absolutely no problem with manager Dale Sveum’s decision to demote Carlos Marmol from his closing position.
After a rocky start to the season where Marmol blew one of his two save opportunities, Sveum announced rookie Kyuji Fujikawa will take over as Cubs’ closer.
“(I’m) completely supportive of Dale,” Epstein said before the Cubs home opener on Monday. “I think he’s made the right call. Marmol bounced back last year to have a really solid second half. Of course he should’ve started the year as our closer. You don’t lose your job because of two bad outings at the end of spring training. To do that would run counter to everything we believe in. … But, he pitched really poorly three times in a row to start the year. It was important for the team to make a change. We need to believe we can win these close games late.”
In three appearances this season, Marmol gave up five earned runs on six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of work. Sveum said the right-hander will return to the bullpen in a setup role.
With Marmol struggling in the closer position, the Cubs opened up their first road trip of the season with a record of 2-4 – something Epstein said the team will improve on.
“It was a trip where there were some bright spots, but overall, it was a pretty disappointing trip,” he said. “On the positive side, our starting pitching has been outstanding early. You can’t go anywhere without good starting pitching. Early returns are good on that front. Offensively, we just didn’t get it going. We didn’t have quality at-bats. … It’s a small sample size, obviously. We’re going to get better offensively.
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