Carlos Marmol

Carlos Marmol removed from closer’s role indefinitely

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Cubs manager Mike Quade acknowledged the obvious following yesterday’s close call win over the Marlins, telling Carrie Muskat of MLB.com that Carlos Marmol will be removed from the closer role indefinitely to work on his mechanics.

“Relievers just don’t have the side time and the time to work on stuff that starters do,” Quade said. “You almost have to say you’re going to give him a couple of days.”

Marmol walked four out of the five batters he faced Thursday night and followed that up by allowed two hits and a walk before being yanked from yesterday’s game in favor of Sean Marshall, who recorded the final out. If it wasn’t for Hanley Ramirez, who ran into the second out at second base, things could have been a lot worse.

Marmol’s ERA has jumped from 2.21 to 3.80 over his last four appearances. He has gone 20 batters without registering a strikeout, a shocking statistic for someone who has struck out 29.9 percent of the batters he’s faced during his major league career.

“He needs to get himself consistent, work-wise and understand what he needs to do, like he has for years,” Quade said. “Everybody goes through tough times and adjustments and this is one of his. We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this guy has been good for a long time. It’s not like he’s been falling apart.”

Not completely true. For what it’s worth, Marmol is averaging just 91.9 mph on his fastball this season, down from 94.1 mph in 2010 and 94 mph in 2009. According to Brooks Baseball, he topped out at 91.4 mph on his heater yesterday. That’s not the guy we’re used to seeing.

There’s no timetable for Marmol’s return to the closer’s role, but Marshall and Kerry Wood should handle most of the save chances while he attempts to right himself.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.