CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster's second annual casino night, held Wednesday to raise money for his foundation, was a huge success and will help a family in Tuscaloosa, Ala., get a home.
The event, held at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago, included a live auction. A baseball autographed by Babe Ruth was sold for $22,000, a trip to the 2011 World Series went for more than $40,000, and comedian Jeff Garlin offered two walk-on appearances for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" for $10,000 each -- and sold them.
But the focus was to raise money and awareness to help families who are affected by 22q, also known as DiGeorge Syndrome.
Dempster and Yankees pitcher David Robertson learned this summer that they were linked by the disorder. Dempster's daughter, Riley, was diagnosed with 22q shortly after her birth.
Robertson met a family in his hometown of Tuscaloosa who lost their home in the tornado that ripped through the town in April, and their son has 22q. Dempster said the money from the auction of the Babe Ruth ball will go to the family, which will allow them to finish their new home.
Quade expects better defensive communication
CHICAGO -- Starlin Castro said he learned his lesson, and next time, will make sure to let his teammates know if he can't get to a ball.
The Cubs' 21-year-old shortstop failed to catch a popup in the first inning on Wednesday, and manager Mike Quade spoke to Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney about the importance of defense after the game.
"I didn't see the ball," Castro said Friday. "The ball went up, and I called it, but when the ball came back, I lost it."
The ball, hit by the Phillies' Michael Martinez, dropped next to Castro, and Martinez eventually scored. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster gave up two runs in the first, and lasted three innings in the loss.
Did Castro feel he did anything wrong on that play?
"Losing the ball, that's it," Castro said. "I saw the ball when it came off the bat and I said, 'I got it.' When the ball came down, I lost it in the sun."
And next time?
"Don't say 'I got it,'" Castro said. "If you don't have it, don't say, 'I got it.' Say, 'I don't see it.'
"That kind of thing happens," he said. "Next time, my teammates can help me."
Quade said he expected better communication between the middle infielders.
"I'll bet these two have it worked out the next time it happens," Quade said. "The premium that goes on defense at those two positions is the main thing. They'll work it out and they'll get better, and they need to.
"Instinctively, with those two kids being together, the minute the ball goes up here at home, you need an understanding of what may or may not take place," Quade said. "It's another learning experience for those guys. I really believe they'll be here together for a long time, and don't want to see a mistake like that happen again and don't believe it will."
Marmol returns to closer's role
CHICAGO -- Carlos Marmol needed one more tune-up on Friday, and now the right-hander is back as the Cubs' closer.
"He's a closer and he pitched like it today," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of Marmol's outing, in which he struck out both batters he faced in the eighth inning of a 4-2 win over the Astros.
Marmol was given a few days to work with pitching coach Mark Riggins to get his mechanics straightened out. The right-hander had walked eight in his previous four outings before Friday, including four on July 14 against the Marlins.
"I'm hoping we're back to normal," Quade said before Friday's game.
But instead of calling upon Marmol with a two-run lead in the ninth, Quade inserted Marmol in the eighth to get Chris Johnson and Clint Barmes. Sean Marshall pitched the ninth for the save.
Quade talked to Riggins prior to Friday's game and decided to give Marmol one more test. He passed.
"I feel very good now," Marmol said. "I've got my confidence back."
This season, Marmol has been successful on 19 of 26 save opportunities, but he does not have a save since July 9. In July, he's 0-1 with three saves in five chances, appearing in nine games and compiling a 12.00 ERA. He's given up eight runs on five hits and nine walks over six innings.
"Marmol's a good pitcher and he's a great closer," Carlos Zambrano said. "But he's human, too. The most important thing is he keeps his head up, like I told him the other day, and comes back ready.
"He has to try to be the same guy that he was last year and the year before and the year he went to the All-Star Game," Zambrano said. "That's what the game is about is making adjustments and come back stronger after a bad outing. Consistency is the most important thing in baseball."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.