The Chicago Cubs season has taken another step towards disappointment as the team has placed closer Kyuji Fujikawa on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.
Instead of returning Carlos Marmol to the closer's role, manager Dale Sveum is going to focus on matchups, focusing on using Shawn Camp and James Russell in the ninth. Marmol lost the closer's job after blowing a lead last Saturday against the Braves, his third rough outing of the season. He's been used in a setup role this week, and has performed much better.
Fujikawa has has a rough year during his first season in America. He's allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings, notching two saves but blowing one on Friday, a game the Cubs would later come back to win. The 32-year old Japanese rookie was signed this winter to a two-year, $9.5 million contract.
Going with Russell and Camp in the ninth is a wise move from Sveum (assuming the Cubs even have many leads to protect in the ninth) as opposed to throwing Marmol right back into the fire after just a pair of good outings. Now, if Fujikawa is going to miss an extended period of time and Marmol continues to thrive in middle relief, then maybe it would be prudent to move him back to the fireman role. By the same token, if Fujikawa struggles when he returns and Marmol holds his own, it might be wise to shift Marmol back to the ninth to possibly build his trade value back up going into the trade deadline.