05/15/12 2:10 PM ET
Cardenas learning the big league ropes
By Steve Overbey / Special to MLB.com
The Chicago infielder/outfielder was called up May 7 and immediately felt like a kid in a candy store.
"I was so overwhelmed at first," he said. "I was just sitting back, watching everything and saying, 'Is this really happening to me?'"
Now, after eight days in the show, Cardenas is proving that he belongs.
The Miami native got his first big league hit on Saturday, a double off Jose Veras in the eighth inning of an 8-2 loss at Milwaukee.
Cardenas, who was claimed off wavers from the Oakland A's in February, has appeared in six games with a pair of starts. He made his debut just hours after receiving the callup and pinch-hit against Atlanta. Two days later, the versatile Cardenas was in the starting lineup at second base.
It was at that point that all of the hoopla of the previous 48 hours finally sunk in.
"Chipper [Jones] hit a ball to me and I realized that it's the same game up here that it is in the Minors," he said. "The atmosphere might be a little bit more intense, but it's still baseball."
The 24-year-old hopes to stick around. He can play a variety of positions, and manager Dale Sveum has already started him in left field and second base. Cardenas has also been used as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement.
Cardenas obtained the ball from his first Major League hit and shipped it, along with a scorecard from the game, to his cousin Rene Couto, a former wide receiver at the University of Louisville. The two have formed a strong brotherly bond.
"He's stuck with me through my ups and downs," Cardenas says. "My whole family has, but he is the only one who has played sports at a high level."
Cardenas, selected by Philadelphia as a compensation pick after the first round of the 2006 Draft, hit .304 last season for the A's Triple-A farm club in Sacramento. The Cubs kept their eye on him and were there to pounce when the Oakland organization let him go.
A .303 lifetime hitter in the Minors, Cardenas hit .319 with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games.
"It was a relief when I got called up, because it makes me feel that everything I had done all this time has paid off," he said. "Getting here is something no one can ever take away from you."
Marmol at least 10 days away from return
ST. LOUIS -- Cubs closer Carlos Marmol remained in Chicago during the two-game set with the Cards to undergo treatment for his hamstring injury.
Marmol was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 12.
Manager Dale Sveum says Marmol is progressing but is still at least 10 days to two weeks away.
"He's getting his treatment every day, and we'll see what happens," Sveum said.
Sveum said Marmol will likely go to Triple-A Iowa before he returns
"We'll send him down for an inning or two to make sure he's game-ready," Sveum said.
Rafael Dolis has taken over the closer role in Marmol's absence. He picked up his fourth save with a perfect ninth inning on Monday in a 6-4 win in St. Louis.
Camp proving to be what Sveum remembered
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Dale Sveum knew what he was getting with veteran right-handed reliever Shawn Camp -- a calm, composed veteran of 449 Major League games.
"I managed him in Double-A," Sveum said. "He doesn't have a heartbeat."
Camp has lived up to that reputation over his last 15 games entering Tuesday's action, with a 2.16 ERA dating back to April 12.
The Fairfax, Va., native native picked up his second win of the season on Monday with a strong two-inning effort in a 6-4 victory at St. Louis.
Camp, nursing a 5-4 lead in the eighth, gave up a leadoff double to Allen Craig but quickly halted the rally by mowing down Lance Berkman, David Freese and Yadier Molina. Camp set the side down in order in the seventh.
Camp, 36, is in his ninth season in the Majors. He played with Toronto, Tampa Bay and Kansas City before the Cubs signed him as a free agent on Feb. 3.
The former standout at George Mason University has a 2-1 mark with a 3.15 ERA in a setup role. He has appeared in 17 games, second on the club behind closer Rafael Dolis, who has 18 appearance.
Cubs sign reliever MacDougal to Minors deal
ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs have signed relief pitcher Mike MacDougal to a Minor League deal. He was assigned to their Triple-A Iowa squad.
The 35-year-old MacDougal was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he sported a 7.94 ERA in seven appearances with four strikeouts and six walks.
MacDougal has 71 saves in his 12-year career. He has saved 20 or more games three times, including a career-high 27 saves with Kansas City in 2003. He posted a team-best 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances for the Dodgers last season.
MacDougal struggled in Spring Training with a 7.88 ERA.
Steve Overbey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.