Kyuji Fujikawa and Carlos Marmol have lockers at opposite ends of the clubhouse. But the Cubs see them working side-by-side in the eighth and ninth innings, at least for the next few months.
The Cubs changed the formula during Thursday’s 5-3 win over Oakland at HoHoKam Stadium. It went Marmol then Fujikawa in the fifth and sixth innings (two scoreless) of a meaningless Cactus League game.
But when the crowds are bigger than 4,037, look for Fujikawa getting acclimated as the setup guy and Marmol making your heart race trying to close out the game.
Marmol said that he hasn’t heard anything new from his lawyer. Meaning he doesn’t expect to have to leave camp and return home to the Dominican Republic to resolve this matter. The Cubs have backed the closer completely in this alleged sexual assault, framing it as an attempt to blackmail a high-profile target.
“It’s all baseball,” Marmol said. “When you go out there, you don’t want to think about anything else except baseball. I feel great. My body feels great. My mind’s clean. I’m ready to go.”
Marmol called Fujikawa a “great pitcher” and a “cool guy” and that’s the vibe the Cubs get from someone with a shock of blondish-orange hair.
Fujikawa has wound up talking to manager Dale Sveum about bass fishing and the pond that’s part of the design for the new Mesa facility. Team president Theo Epstein remembered the smile on Fujikawa’s face when he visited Wrigley Field just before Thanksgiving.
Fujikawa saved 220 games across 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers, one of Japan’s most historic/popular teams – and one that made it clear he wouldn’t be part of the posting system. The 32-year-old right-hander helped Japan win the World Baseball Classic twice and pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“He wasn’t a priority guy for us at that time because we figured the price would maybe get a little out of control,” Epstein said. “We had a closer and we weren’t out looking to spend a ton of money in the bullpen.”
Looking at Fujikawa, Marmol and where the Cubs go from here
CSN Chicago | Mar 1