On Saturday morning it turns out that Cubs closer Kyuji Fujikawa has an excuse for his poor outing and blown save Friday. The Japanese pitcher apparently has dealt with a strain in his right forearm muscle over the past few days. The North Siders have placed Fujikawa on the 15 day disabled list. While the injury may not sound serious enough to warrant a stint on the DL, being one arm short in the bullpen even for just a few days was probably not worth trying to wait out Fujikawa’s return.
Rafael Dolis has been called up from Iowa to replace Fujikawa on the 25 man roster. However the closer’s job does not appear to return to Carlos Marmol by default. The early word from manager Dale Svuem is that the Cubs will go with a dreaded closer by committee. While Svuem did not quite use that term, the Cubs will basically go off of match ups and whoever is available in the pen through the course of a game.
Apr 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa (11) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
However it will be interesting to see if Marmol still ends up being the first one handed a save opportunity. For the sake of looking at the big picture, which is beyond the 2013 season results, it still benefits the Cubs to trot Marmol out there in save situations in hopes that he gets back on track like he did in the second half of 2012. The Cubs need the Dominican righty to catch fire a little quicker this time so that they can try to deal him for something come July.
So Cub fans, don’t be surprised when you see Marmol take the mound for the next save and let’s pocket those boos until after he does something wrong.