Mike Quade just announced that Carlos Marmol is back to being the Cubs’ closer, meaning his break/demotion from the role lasted all of a week and included just one non-closer appearance.
Marmol walked two batters in a scoreless inning against the Phillies on Monday, but also recorded two strikeouts after failing to strike out a single hitter in any of his previous six outings, which is obviously a huge red flag for the all-time leader in single-season strikeout rate.
Along with the lack of strikeouts Marmol has walked eight of the last 17 batters he’s faced, but Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that pitching coach Mark Riggins is confident they have his mechanics straightened out after some side sessions.
Marmol has 19 saves on the season, but leads the league with seven blown saves and hasn’t successfully converted a save since July 9.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.