<
>

Bosio insists that Marmol is just fine

MIAMI -- Despite a loss and a blown save for Carlos Marmol over his first five outings, pitching coach Chris Bosio is not worried about the Chicago Cubs' closer.

“Carlos has been fine,” Bosio said quickly when the subject of Marmol was broached.

Marmol not only blew 10 save chances last season, then then got off to a rough start in spring training. He seemed to get back on track after returning from a hand cramp, but struggled again once the regular season started.

There have been plenty of changes for Marmol since last season. There is a new pitching coach, of course, in Bosio. Then there was the decision to eliminate the cut fastball from his repertoire since he had little to no success with it last season.

Known to have wild mechanics, Marmol even underwent an adjustment to his delivery aimed at improving his slider and leaving him in better fielding position once he releases the ball.

It remains to be seen how long it takes to get comfortable with his new approach, but there have been signs of hope in recent days. Over his last two outings he hasn’t given up a run or a hit, but neither came in a save situation.

The results were far from his first two outings when he gave up a combined four hits and three runs with two walks.

“There has been a couple of instances where we got beat in the 3-4 hole where he’s giving up ground balls and that’s all we can ask of him,” Bosio said. “Once the balls get put in play, we want our guys to get early outs and in this case there are a couple of balls that have snuck through the infield. That’s going to happen.”

So while others have viewed Marmol’s early struggles as last season repeating itself, Bosio was in a unique position since he wasn’t on hand to witness the 2011 season and didn’t have a here-we-go-again perspective. The clean slate that Bosio has provided is exactly what Marmol needed.

“Everybody is playing hard, they’re working hard and so far we’ve got off to a decent start,” Bosio said. “It’s not, by any means, where we want to be, but it is a long season and everybody understands we still have a lot of work to do. But hard work prevails so let’s roll up the sleeves and get after it.”