Carlos Marmol out as Cubs closer

Updated: May 4, 2012, 2:35 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum informed Carlos Marmol Friday that he is out as the closer, a day after the struggling reliever blew a 3-0 ninth-inning lead in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Sveum said he will use a combination of left-hander James Russell and right-hander Rafael Dolis to close games for now.

"I called (Marmol) into the office and told him he is not the closer right now," Sveum said before Friday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We will wing that situation in the ninth inning between Russell and Dolis depending on the matchup, and I told Marmol to be ready to pitch at any time."

Marmol walked three of the five batters he faced in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Reds, wasting eight shutout innings by Ryan Dempster.

Marmol said after the game that he hoped to remain the closer, but knows the manager makes the final choice.

"You lose a game like that, I'm embarrassed right now," Marmol said.

Marmol has converted just two of five save chances this season and has a 6.23 ERA with 12 walks in 8 2/3 innings. He got the save with a perfect inning in a 3-1 victory over the Reds Wednesday, but he went to a full count on the first batter, while the second batter flew out to the base of the left-field wall.

Russell hasn't given up an earned run in nine appearances, spanning 7 2/3 innings. Dolis, who took the blown save and then the loss Thursday, has a 3.52 ERA and one save in 13 games this season.

Russell, who has no career saves, will try to approach his new role the same as his middle relief duties.

"It is the last three outs and everybody puts so much importance on it," Russell said. "You have to go about it that it's like any three outs. It could be the first or the ninth or the sixth, you still have to go out there and make your pitches."

The son of former major league closer Jeff Russell, James Russell said his genes might help him in the role.

"Maybe you have to be a little screwy in the head, and he passed that down to me," Russell said. "It will be fun, but you have to have a little bit of something wrong with you to be a closer."

ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla contributed to this report.

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