MESA, Ariz. Carlos Marmol stood in front of his locker acting as the translator for Rafael Dolis. A reporter asked Marmol to ask Dolis if he would like to close one day.
Close what? Marmol said as everyone burst into laughter. What are you talking about?
Marmol had just passed his first test back, throwing a scoreless inning during Mondays 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres at HoHoKam Stadium. The Cubs have 20 million invested in Marmol, so he will be their closer.
Six days earlier, Marmol had walked off the same mound after feeling a cramp in his right hand. An MRI around his neck revealed no significant nerve injury, and everythings supposed to be back to normal.
My body feels great, Marmol said. Mentally, I feel great.
Marmol did look sharp, getting ahead with an 0-2 count on four of the five batters he faced. He gave up a walk and a single, but escaped the inning, and even small steps like that should help his confidence.
If the Cubs are going to make it interesting the way Marmol usually does they will need their closer to be dominant again, and a healthy Kerry Wood getting him the ball.
As much as Marmol has been pushed to the limit over the years, he cant do it every night (which seemed to be what the reporter was getting at). Manager Dale Sveum has identified Dolis as a potential setup man, someone who throws 95 to 97 mph with some sink and can command a slider.
The question becomes: Can you do it in front of 40,000 fans at Wrigley Field?
The 24-year-old Dolis, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, saved 17 games for Double-A Tennessee last season. Hes only pitched in one game above that level, but figures to be a key bullpen piece, this year and beyond.
Ill do anything they ask me to do, Dolis said through his interpreter.