With trade rumors swirling and several teams looking for closers, Carlos Marmol wasn't exactly impressive on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox. He gave up a run in 2/3 of an inning which was extended because of an error at third base and was pulled mid-inning.

"He was at 25 pitches," manager Dale Sveum said. "He's out of the inning if we catch the ball at third base. The guy hits a slider for a double. Other than that he was just kind of missing with his slider and his fastball. He wasn't awful by no means."

That defense of Marmol rings hollow. After the error by third baseman Christian Villanueva, Marmol threw a wild pitch and walked two batters. And isn't there something to picking up your teammates when they err behind a pitcher? Marmol wasn't able to do that.

"He got the pitch count up," Sveum said. "The last guy laid off some pretty good sliders. Like I said if we catch the ball at third it's a different story."

Marmol's spring ERA is 4.91.

Villanueva's outing: Carlos Villanueva called his role in baseball "under-appreciated" after throwing four innings on Thursday. Villanueva is the Cubs' long reliever/spot starter but with Matt Garza and Scott Baker ailing, he'll probably begin the season in the rotation.

"It's easier to prepare as a starter," Villaneuva said. "You have to have a bit of a rubber arm."

Villanueva is coming along. He threw 53 pitches, got hit hard in some cases but didn't walk anyone. He didn't even mind his home run ball to Paul Konerko in the 8-3 loss.

"I threw the ball exactly where I wanted to throw it ... but it's Konerko," Villanueva said with a smile. "If someone's going to do it's him. Hopefully the wind is blowing in at Wrigley and that's a pop up to left."