Carlos Marmol has finally made up his mind. After carefully considering whether he should pitch for the Dominican Republic in next month’s World Baseball Classic, Marmol decided to skip the WBC and hone his skills with the Cubs for the entire duration of the Cubs spring training in Mesa. Did competition with newly acquired Kevin Gregg for the Cubs closer job impact his decision at all? According to both Marmol and Cubs Manager Lou Pinella, the answer was a firm “No.”
The Cubs were behind Marmol 100% if he decided to play for his country. Pinella informed Marmol that it was an honor to play for your country and that he should do what he felt most comfortable with.
Marmol was torn over the decision, but ultimately decided it would be best for him to get in more work with Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild in anticipation for the Cubs upcoming 2009 MLB season. “I know what I have to do to keep my body ready for the season and my arm and my mind. That’s what I need to do. I’m not worried about the competition. It was hard to say no. I’d prefer to stay here and work with my teammates and the team. For me, it’s hard because it would’ve been my first time to go there. It’s kind of sad.”
Cubs fans should be relieved that Marmol has elected to stay in Mesa to fine tune his control and form for the MLB regular season. Now Pinella and the Cubs can take their time evaluating Marmol’s performance and making sure that he is ready to assume the stressful Cubs closer role.
The Cubs still have 4 other players competing in the WBC – Ted Lilly for the United States; Vince Perkins for Canada; Geovany Soto for Puerto Rico and Kosuke Fukodome for Japan.