MILWAUKEE -- The MRI on Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol showed minimal damage and the right-hander could return at the end of his 15-day stint on the disabled list. Casey Coleman can only hope Marmol is sidelined long enough for him to catch his breath.
Marmol was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday with a strained right hamstring and Coleman was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. But Coleman had to make a long journey, traveling from Fresno to Sacramento to Denver to Milwaukee, then found himself pitching less than an hour after he arrived at Miller Park.
Iowa's coaching staff told Coleman to be ready. They weren't kidding.
The Minor League team finished its series in Fresno on Friday night at 10 p.m. PT, and Coleman was called into manager Dave Bialas' office 30 minutes after the game with the news that he was needed on the big league team. Coleman had been in the stands charting pitches on Friday, and was able to keep tabs on how the Cubs were doing. He saw the game against the Brewers had gone 13 innings, then heard that Marmol was hurt.
"Somebody was going to have to come up," he said.
But there were no flights out of Fresno to get Coleman to Milwaukee in time for Saturday's game, so he rode the team bus to Sacramento, got on a 5 a.m. flight to Denver, changed planes, and landed in Milwaukee. He was spotted running out to the bullpen in the sixth inning, shortly before 2 p.m. CT.
"I carried my stuff in a garbage bag because I didn't have a carry-on with me," Coleman said. "They said, 'Pack your cleats and glove with you.' I got a few looks [going through security]. It was worth it."
He gave up a two-out single in the seventh and ran into some trouble in the eighth, giving up two more Brewers runs in what ended as an 8-2 Milwaukee win.
"The adrenaline was pumping in the [seventh] inning, and I felt I was throwing hard," Coleman said. "We had a long inning and put a run up and had some good at-bats, and that's when you have to regroup and settle down, and I was trying to go off the adrenaline too much. I left a few pitches up [in the eighth] and gave up a few singles."
Coleman, who was starting at Iowa, arrived in time to give the Cubs bullpen a much needed rest. Marmol was one of seven pitchers the Cubs used on Friday. He started the seventh and retired the first two batters he faced before walking Ryan Braun. Aramis Ramirez then hit a RBI double off the right-field wall.
On Friday, Marmol was ahead in the count 1-2 to Corey Hart when catcher Welington Castillo went to the mound and signaled to the dugout. Marmol told Castillo he was OK, but assistant athletic trainer Ed Halbur and Cubs manager Dale Sveum went to the mound. After a few throws, Marmol was pulled.
"He was really sore when he was walking out last night and it seemed to actually be getting worse," Sveum said.
Despite that, the MRI results on Saturday were encouraging.
"It was very, very minimal; nothing major," Sveum said after Saturday's game. "Fifteen days and we'll go from there. It wasn't significant at all."
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.