- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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For the third time in as many spring trainings, the Cubs’ pitching staff is working with a new pitching coach. This time around, Chris Bosio is charged with leading a staff replete with players seeking fresh starts.
“It has been tough on the guys,” closer Carlos Marmol said of the frequent changes in the staff in recent years.“I have already changed a couple of things he has helped me with.”
That theme seems to be prevalent this spring as the former Major League pitcher has made an immediate impact on the Cubs staff.
Competition is fierce this month as five pitchers are fighting for three rotation spots. Bosio and new manager Dale Sveum are in the process of finding the best candidates to join Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster.
”There is a method to our madness and, we have a solid plan for each pitcher in camp,” Bosio said. “The jobs are still wide open, and we are making sure everyone gets enough work in games, on the side and in minor league games in order to get all of them to the finish line for Opening Day.”
Bosio has a direct and simple approach to the art of pitching.
”We believe in three pitch outs,” he said. “That means getting the hitter to hit your pitch and saving the bullets in your arm as well as keeping the bullpen guys on the bench.”
Rebuilding Marmol’s confidence has been a big part of Bosio’s first month on the job.
”I know he was overused, and he agrees he was overused last season,” Bosio said. “To his credit, he has worked as hard as any pitcher in camp to regain his skills so far this spring. We are planning to have him use some different grip adjustments to get him back to form.”
Marmol lost some velocity on his fastball last season and became less effective when hitters started to lay off of his slider.
”He is one of those guys that you want to do great ,he never misses a drill.,” Bosio said.
“Marmol is a guy that has the heart of a lion he has great passion, so we are going to work with him and get it right.”
Part of Bosio’s plan for Marmol is to throw only fastballs in his next Cactus league outing in order build arm strength and trust in that under–valued pitch.
Bosio may be new to the organization, but he has gained the trust of veterans and young pitchers alike.
”Boz showed me how to shorten my stride and that helped the ball come out of my hand with more leverage,” Kerry Wood said. “It was a simple adjustment that means a lot for me.”
Wood is not the only one who has been impressed.
”He has been big for me,“ said Tuesday’s starter Chris Volstad. ”The whole mental approach and working with the four-seamer (rising fastball) that has really helped me with the lefties this spring. He has been a big help.
Volstad is doing something right, having thrown six shutout innings over his first two spring training starts.