Notes: Marmol gets closing experience
Comcast SportsNet to honor Caray; TV schedule released
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Carlos Marmol got a taste of the highs and lows of being a closer this week in the Caribbean Series.
Marmol, pitching for Licey, one of the Dominican Republic teams in the four-team series, had pitched in three of his team's five games through Wednesday, and had two saves and one blown save. Last Saturday, he faced five batters over 1 1/3 innings and struck out two while walking one in Licey's 6-4 win over Venezuela. Marmol walked the first batter he faced, and then settled down. He threw 23 pitches, 13 for strikes.
On Tuesday night against Venezuela, Marmol needed just eight pitches (six strikes) to retire the side in the ninth for his second save in a 2-1 win.
Against Mexico on Wednesday, Marmol was called upon with two on and two outs in the eighth and Licey ahead, 4-1. He struck out Jorge Padilla to end the inning, but in the ninth, Marmol gave up a single, struck out the next batter, and the next batter was safe on an error, allowing a run to score.
Carlos Valencia hit an RBI triple to close to 4-3, and Mexico tied the game on Oscar Robles' single. Marmol threw 27 pitches, 19 for strikes. Mexico won, 7-4, in 10 innings.
Marmol is one of the candidates for the closer job this season, and the Cubs wanted the Licey team to limit him to four innings in the Caribbean Series. He only pitched one inning during the regular season for Licey, and in the Dominican League playoffs, he gave up one hit and struck out 19 over 12 scoreless innings.
Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who helped the Venezuelan team reach the Caribbean Series, is not participating in it.
Holy cow: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Harry Caray, and Comcast SportsNet will devote a day of programming Feb. 18 to honor the Hall of Fame broadcaster.
"Holy cow: Remembering Harry" day will get under way at 11 a.m. CT on Feb. 18 and feature three classic Cubs telecasts, including Caray's call of the team's 1984 National League East clincher, along with his final broadcast ever from 1997.
In addition, Comcast SportsNet will produce an original half-hour special featuring highlights from Caray's storied career, along with numerous interviews that will air at 7 p.m. CT.
Other programming highlights from the day include the acclaimed documentary "Hello Again Everybody: The Harry Caray Story," along with additional clips and interviews on SportsNite presented by DEX at 6:30 p.m. CT and Land Rover SportsNite at 10 p.m. CT.
Caray, who began his broadcasting career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1945, was the voice of the White Sox from 1971-81, and for the Cubs from 1982 until his death in February 1998.
TV time: The Cubs have released their television broadcast schedule, and all 162 regular-season games will be available in high definition in the Chicago area.
WGN will televise the Cubs' March 31 season opener against Milwaukee, while Comcast SportsNet will televise its first game on April 2, the team's second game of the campaign.
WGN has televised Cubs games since 1948. This will be Comcast SportsNet's fourth season televising Cubs games. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly return for their fourth season in the Cubs' TV broadcast booth.
Definition: Geovany Soto could be the Cubs' first rookie catcher to start Opening Day since Joe Girardi did in 1989.
Soto does have 96 days of Major League service time, but in order to lose the rookie status, 45 days must be accumulated during the 25-man limit that is in effect from Opening Day through Aug. 31.
In 2005, he was recalled Sept. 6, so none of that service time would count against his rookie status. In 2006, he accrued just two days of service time against his rookie status (June 27-28, optioned June 29), and in 2007, he had just four days that would count against his rookie status (July 13-16, optioned on July 17). The rest of his service time came in September, when rosters were expanded.
Extra bases: Work has begun outside the administrative entrance to Wrigley Field to prepare the site for the installation of a statue honoring Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. The statue will be unveiled on Opening Day. ... Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 13, and workouts will begin the next day. Position players are to report Feb. 18, and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 19. This will be the Cubs' 30th consecutive Spring Training in Mesa.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.