Although there haven't been many save opportunities of late for Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, manager Dale Sveum seems pleased with Marmol and said there's no reason he can't go into next season in that role.
"I don't see why not, right now," Sveum said Monday. "Knock on wood, he's been as good as anybody in baseball since he's been back in the closing role and the save opportunities he's had.
"He's signed through next year, and he's the one guy on our roster next year that has closed. Hopefully, everything continues. He's obviously understood about using his fastball more and the ability and the things he can do with his fastball as well as his slider. It's a commodity that's very difficult to find. We'll already have one going into next season."
Marmol lost his closer's job earlier this year, largely because of over-reliance on his slider. But he got the job back and entered Monday having converted 13 straight save opportunities dating to May 2.
"I don't know if I called him out as much as I said he needed to get things straightened out and taking him out of the closer's role," Sveum said. "I think he was probably as professional and as good as anybody (in handling) that situation. He did what he had to do to get back and be one of the top-of-the-line closers in baseball. I'm comfortable with him. He's done a great job."
Marmol gets $9.8 million next season in the final year of his three-year contract.
The Cubs selected the contract of Waubonsie Valley High School graduate Michael Bowden from Class AAA Iowa and optioned lefty Brooks Raley to Iowa. This looks to be smart roster move. Bowden will go to the bullpen, and Raley can come back and pitch one of the games Saturday in the day-night doubleheader at Cincinnati.
Bowden, whom the Cubs obtained in a trade with Boston for Marlon Byrd in late April, was 3-2 with 2 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 23 games for Iowa. He was up with the Cubs from April 23 until being designated for assignment June 1.
"It was very beneficial for me to get down there and get a lot innings in, get my work in and go out there and get comfortable again and work out a few kinks," he said. "
Bowden will work in the middle of games. Another concern for Dale Sveum is that the workloads have piled up for setup men James Russell and Shawn Camp, and both lately have looked tired.
Camp entered Monday leading the National League in appearances (58) and Russell was tied for third (56).
"We've got to really be careful with Camp and Russell right now," Sveum said. "They're one and three in all of baseball in appearances. Their appearances have been full innings, too. It's not a situation where they'll come in for one hitter. For the most part, they've gotten their three outs all year long in their appearances. We've really got to be careful with them pitching when we're behind in games right now."