Sean Marshall is stepping up his effort in trying to land the Cubs’ 5th spot in the rotation. He made a bold statement in the Cubs 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s on Tuesday. Marshall pitched 3 innings – the longest outing by any Cubs pitcher this spring – facing the minimum 9 batters. He had 1 strikeout. Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Marshall: “He’s gotten stronger. He throws the ball with a little more velocity. He’s got as good a curve ball as I’ve seen so far in Spring Training.”
Marshall took the advice of Cubs starter Ryan Dempster and worked out in the Phoenix area this off-season. Marshall also credited former Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux with being a big influence on his major league development. “I still remember a lot of the things he was telling me – – the importance of first-pitch strikes, getting my fastball down and away early and often. ” So far all the hard work has seemed to pay off for Marshall this spring. We’ll keep you posted as the competition for the 5th starting pitching spot continues among Marshall, Aaron Heilman, Chad Gaudin and Jeff Samardzija.