Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa is inching closer to his return from the disabled list. Even though the Cubs signed him to a two-year deal this past offseason to handle the closer role if need be, there is no guarantee that he will return to the closer role.
The right-hander threw a successful bullpen session on Monday, which he will follow up with another one on Thursday. If there are no issues after that he will be on his way to make a rehab appearance on Sunday in Triple-A. Assuming there are no setbacks, it should not be long after that until he returns to the active roster.
Fujikawa blew a save right before he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain. It was the only save he blew in three opportunities so there is really no reason to believe he is struggling in the role. With that being said, his 12.46 earned run average in 4 1/3 innings is enough for manager Dale Sveum to close games by committee.
“I got [a closer],” Sveum told Cubs.com. “I just don’t know who it’s going to be every night.”
I have to imagine Carlos Marmol will not be used in that role after he blew two saves in four opportunities this season. Not to mention, he is having enough success without the pressure of closing games that Chicago would be doing more harm than good by giving him the job back.
In my opinion, the person that deserves the full-time closer job is reliever Kevin Gregg. The 34-year-old has recorded four saves in four opportunities without surrendering an earned run all season. Even though Sveum stated that he will look to three or four relievers any given night to close the door on opposing teams, it appears Gregg is the man for the job.