Q&A: Marshall hoping for Wrigley welcome
March, 12, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
Rich Pilling/Getty ImagesSean Marshall said he loved every minute with the Cubs, but he's enjoying his new team.MESA, Ariz. -- As part of the offseason purge when the Cubs were looking to add starting pitching, Sean Marshall said Monday he has no hard feelings about being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.
He eventually embraced his new organization by signing a three-year, $16.5 million contract extension less than two weeks into spring training, eliminating the idea that he might return to the North Siders when his current contract expired at the end of this season.
Marshall met with members of the Chicago media before Monday's Cactus League game between the Reds and Cubs when he pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
He gave insight into his move, reuniting with manager Dusty Baker and whether or not he will get any love when he returns to Wrigley Field this season.
Are you happy with your move and your new contract with the Reds?
SEAN MARSHALL: Yeah, it's been really nice. At first when I got traded it was a bit of a surprise, but the Cubs' front office gave us a week's heads up and told us it might be in the mix so that was a nice gesture. But it's been good. I've fit in since Day 1. I played against some of these guys for the last couple of years so to be their teammate now is a little different, but everybody has been as nice as can be and I'm trying to fit right in.
Q: It must be nice to already know manager Dusty Baker?
SM: Dusty and [bench coach Chris Speier] and [bullpen coach Juan] Lopez, some of the coaches I played with my first year. [Baker] gave me my first opportunity so it's nice to be back with them.
Q: Is it the same setup role?
SM: So far it's still the same. We'll just go from there. Like I always said, whenever I get the ball I'll just try to get guys out.
Q: How nice is the new contract?
SM: It's something that we thought was a good idea for my family and for my young son. I know it's a different city, but I understand that I have been very lucky to be in a Cubs uniform for nine seasons. There are a lot of players that get traded every couple of years. I was always thankful for all my days at Wrigley Field. We'll be back the second weekend of the season playing the Cubbies so I hope it will be just like going home again.
Q: You know James Russell, well so does he have the makeup to take your vacated late-inning lefty role?
SM: Absolutely. He pitched great out of the bullpen last year and the year before. I know he's been looking forward to the opportunity and I think he's more than capable of doing what I did.
Q: What were your feelings on being traded away during the Cubs' youth movement?
SM: I understood the moves that they were making. I know it's a business and I have been lucky to be on the same team really being left-handed. I see lefties being moved around the league each year so I was lucky for my time in Chicago. From a business aspect that's the way it goes. You move on and try to be competing in a different city.
Q: Do you think Chicago will be patient for a rebuilding project?
SM: I know they want to win. Those fans always want to win. They're die-hards and I've seen it for years. It's definitely one of the best fan bases of any team.
Q: Do you expect a nice reception when you return to Wrigley Field?
SM: I sure hope so. I loved every moment I spent there so I'm looking forward to going back. Even today's game was a little bit exciting for me to come over here and see my old teammates and see some familiar faces in the stands. I saw some season ticket holders coming in. It was pretty cool.
Q: Would it break your heart if Cubs fans didn't treat you well?
SM: I know how it is. Even though I pitch for a different team I'm kind of the enemy now. But I loved being a Cub and wouldn't change it for the world.