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  • Dale Sveum has been openly begging Carlos Marmol to throw more fastballs. After screwing around and walking the first two hitters he saw in the 8th last night, Marmol started pumping fastballs, and wound up striking out Brian McCann and Dan Uggla (the latter on three straight fastballs). Marmol had been booed with every ball he threw to open the inning, and says that the boos encouraged him to throw strikes. Marmol left the mound that inning beating his chest and shouting in celebration. Let’s have more of that … but maybe Dale could keep him out of super tight games for a little while yet, mmmkay?
  • Sveum admits that there’s a chance Marmol will earn his closer job back at some point this season. Obviously I’m sure the Cubs would love nothing more than for Marmol to have a few more good outings, “earn” the closer job back, pick up a few saves, and become dump-able. Hard to see that happening, though.


  • Each team was warned yesterday after Jeff Samardzija hit Jason Heyward (who’d homered earlier in the game) in the top of the seventh inning, and Eric O’Flaherty hit David DeJesus (square in the middle of the back) in the bottom of the inning. Braves manager Freddi Gonzalez didn’t care for the way things played out, and was ejected. I’m not really sure I understand throwing at DeJesus – it’s pretty obvious that Samardzija wasn’t trying to hit Heyward. It was a one-run game, and there was one out. Dale Sveum says the same.
  • Adrian Cardenas was “overwhelmed” to arrive in Chicago with the Cubs, his first stay in the big leagues. Dale Sveum sounds happy to have him on the roster. “The guy can hit,” Sveum said. “He can square a ball up. He’s got good bat speed, a nice left-handed hitter. It’ll bring us a nice left-handed bat off the bench, and he’s going to play a little bit, too. Got to get that left-handed bat in the lineup somehow.”
  • As for how often Cardenas will play, Sveum noted that Darwin Barney hasn’t been lighting the world on fire lately. “Obviously I’m not seeing what I want to see [from Barney],” Sveum said, according to the Tribune. “Neither is he …. Right now he’s not swinging as hot as he was at the beginning of the year or in spring training. But he’ll get it figured out.” I think we’ll probably see Cardenas pick up a start soon, perhaps as soon as today.


  • At least Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney are getting better defensively, so says the coaching staff. “They are a year smarter in knowing the league, and they are still continuing to work hard every day at improving,” said third base coach Pat Listach. “Barney has made some tremendous strides at second and Castro – even though his error totals are up – hasn’t gotten the call or any breaks on a number of those errors. We admit Castro is a work in progress, but his defense is improving. You can’t go by errors alone. His overall play is more consistent out there.”
  • Make sure you sign up for the one-day fantasy baseball contest, which runs this Friday. The full details are here, but the short version is this: you can sign up (for free) any time before Friday night, you pick a lineup based on Friday’s games, you score points, you beat me, you win money. There’s $300 at stake, and just by signing up, you help Bleacher Nation. So, sign up here. Gracias.

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