CHICAGO -- The Cubs will be doing a lot of evaluating in the final 7 1/2 weeks of the season, but one position they don't have to worry about is closer. That's Carlos Marmol's job, even if it has been a rocky ride.
"Knock on wood, he's been as good as anybody in baseball since he's been back in the closer's role in the save opportunities he's had," manager Dale Sveum said on Monday.
Marmol was removed from the role in mid-May, then reinstated on June 15, and he has converted his last 13 save opportunities, giving up one run over 12 1/3 innings in those games.
Sveum said that Marmol handled the switch well.
"He was as professional and as good about it as anybody could handle that situation, and he did what he had to do to get back and be one of the top-of-the-line closers in baseball," Sveum said. "I'm comfortable with him. He's done a great job."
One thing the Cubs have to watch in the final games is how much they use setup pitchers Shawn Camp and James Russell, who rank first and third in appearances in the Majors with 58 and 56 games, respectively. The Cubs added an eighth reliever, Michael Bowden, on Monday, calling him up from Triple-A Iowa.
Cubs add reliever Bowden to roster
CHICAGO -- Right-handed reliever Michael Bowden was added to the roster on Monday and Brooks Raley optioned to Triple-A Iowa, although the left-hander could be back as soon as Saturday to start against the Reds.
The Cubs will be allowed to add a 26th player for Saturday's doubleheader in Cincinnati, and Raley, who started on Sunday, could be called up. He would be pitching on normal rest.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Bowden, third baseman Ian Stewart was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Stewart is sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left wrist in June.
Bowden went 3-2 with two saves and a 2.76 ERA in 23 games at Iowa, giving up 10 earned runs over 32 2/3 innings. He walked 17 and struck out 35. He was used strictly in relief.
"He's done as well as anybody down there, if not better than everybody, really," manager Dale Sveum said on Monday.
Acquired from the Red Sox in exchange for Marlon Byrd, Bowden appeared in 10 games with the Cubs from April 24 to May 27 and compiled a 7.45 ERA, giving up eight earned runs over 9 2/3 innings.
What's been the difference?
"It was beneficial for me to go down there and get a lot of work in and work on a few things I needed to work on and get back to repeating my delivery and [being] comfortable," Bowden said.
He's hoping to convince the Cubs that he can contribute next season.
"That's the name of this game," he said. "It's been that way the last five years for me. I've always been competing for a spot. I'm very grateful for another opportunity up here, and I'm going to do everything I can to stay here."
Raley went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts with the Cubs, including Sunday's game against the Reds, in which he posted a quality start, giving up three earned runs over six innings.
Barney could grab Gold Glove from mentor
CHICAGO -- Darwin Barney leads all Major League second basemen in fielding percentage, at .998, but to win a Gold Glove, he'll have to take it from the Reds' Brandon Phillips.
The Cincinnati second baseman did give Barney some advice early in his career.
"I asked him about turning double plays at second base, and he helped me out," Barney said. "I have a lot of respect for him and the way he plays the game defensively. He helped me out from Day 1. I respect the way he did that."
Phillips is second in the National League in fielding percentage, at .995. Barney knows that if he's to win the top defensive award, he has to wrestle it from Phillips, who has won it three of the last four years.
"I know that," Barney said. "He knows that. That's definitely not anything we talk about. Trust me on that."
What's the difference between the two?
"He makes it look easy," Barney said. "He's very good at it. He does things differently than I would in a lot of different ways, but he gets the job done every time. You have a lot of respect for a guy like that who can come in and make the plays he does."
Patients at a local children's hospital will soon have Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Brett Jackson or Luis Valbuena read them a bedtime story.
The players were filmed reading children's books, and the videos will be available for patients at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.
Rizzo read, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff, and Castro read "Las Rimas de Mama Oca," which are Mother Goose rhymes in Spanish.
On Monday, Jeff Beliveau and Adrian Cardenas visited patients at Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital. Cardenas also took part in the reading program, picking "Donde Viven Los Monstruos," also known as Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are."
Class A Peoria second baseman Zeke DeVoss was named Midwest League Player of the Week for Aug. 6-12. He is the second Chiefs position player to win the honor this season and the third Peoria player honored by the Midwest League in 2012. DeVoss batted .448, and scored 10 runs with five extra-base hits, five stolen bases and four RBIs. He led all of Minor League Baseball in runs scored and led all of Class A ball in hits and stolen bases.
Double-A Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour reached 100 RBIs on Sunday and is the first player in the Southern League to drive in 100 in a single season since 1999. He was batting .341 in August, with four home runs and 15 RBIs.
The Cubs have signed free-agent right-hander Seth McClung and assigned him to Triple-A Iowa. McClung, 31, began the season with Triple-A Nashville (Brewers) and went 2-13 with a 6.36 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) before being released on July 30.
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.