Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol has been pulled from his ninth inning role after his first blown save of the year last night in Atlanta. Kyuji Fujikawa will replace Marmol as the Cubs' fireman, according to reports.
Marmol is actually reportedly taking the demotion well, stating "You can't complain about it. They say it's better for me and for the team. I'll take it. I agree."
Saying that this season has been a mess for Marmol might be an understatement. In three games this year, Marmol has closed out just one of them and completed 1 2/3 innings. He's allowed five runs on six hits, along with two homers to go along with two walks and two strikeouts. He was pulled from the Cubs 3-1 Opening Day win against Pittsburgh in the ninth after hitting a batter, allowing a single, and walking a batter while getting just one out.
Fujikawa's brief major league tenure was going fine until Saturday against Atlanta, when he allowed three runs on four hits in his inning of work to draw the Braves to within a run. Fujikawa saved the opener against the Pirates, and threw a scoreless eighth in their 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, another game Marmol nearly blew as well after allowing two runs in the ninth before shutting the door.
Marmol is in the final season of a three-year extension he signed with the Cubs before the 2011 season, and will make $9.8 million this year. Fujikawa was signed to a two-year, $9.5 million deal this offseason by Chicago, with the team also holding a club option on him for 2015.