03/27/12 9:15 PM ET
Marshall confident he can close
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
On the heels of another solid outing vs. the Cubs, his former club, left-handed setup man Sean Marshall again voiced his willingness to assume the ninth-inning role. But he has not been given any indication that it would be his.
"Nothing yet. Obviously, the job is available," Marshall said. "I'd like the opportunity to pitch in that role. It's what's best for the team. If it's a closer-by-committee situation, that would work out good, too. We'll keep pitching well and work on improving each day."
Marshall pitched a scoreless sixth inning vs. the Cubs and gave up one hit with one strikeout. A stolen base and a wild pitch put his lone runner on third base before he escaped cleanly with a strikeout.
It was the sixth straight scoreless outing for Marshall, who has a 4.00 ERA with three walks and 13 strikeouts over eight appearances totaling nine innings.
When asked about Marshall and the closer's role on Monday, manager Dusty Baker expressed concern about whether the 29-year-old could pitch effectively three days in a row -- something that closers are often asked to do.
Marshall is not worried about his durability.
"I've definitely pitched at least three days in a row and been hot and ready to pitch a fourth game, too, and felt good," Marshall said. "It really depends on how many pitches I throw in an outing. It depends on how many days I pitch in a row and how many times I get up and get down. Those are big factors as a reliever. I've definitely done it before and had good success pitching consecutive games. If it's necessary, I'm more than capable of doing it."
Game logs show that Marshall pitched three consecutive days on five different occasions in 2010 and three times in 2011. He was not charged with a run allowed in any of the third games in those spans.
With Marshall's role in flux, Aroldis Chapman being considered for the rotation and Bill Bray trying to return from a groin injury, the Reds could be short for lefty relievers. Former Rangers and Pirates southpaw Mike Gonzalez was spotted throwing in a bullpen session at the Reds' complex for an audition on Monday.
Several lefty relievers have hit the market in recent days as other clubs made cuts. The Rangers released Mitch Stetter and Joe Beimel, while the Cubs released journeyman Trever Miller this week. The Reds have yet to be linked to those pitchers, however.
Cozart's spring hitting streak snapped
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart's eight-game hitting streak ended on Tuesday when he went 0-for-4. Cozart, who was 13-for-20 (.650) during the streak, is still batting a robust .413 (19-for-46) on the spring with seven doubles.
"He's had a better spring in the field, which is his No. 1 job," Reds manager Dusty Baker pointed out before Tuesday's game.
Cozart is coming off of Tommy John surgery to his left, non-throwing elbow last summer. Baker did not consider it critical for the 26-year-old to have a stellar spring to secure the regular shortstop job.
"It was probably more important to him than it was to us," Baker said. "As long as he's healthy and his arm isn't bothering him, he's the same player he was before he got hurt. You don't see a difference in his swing."
For the second-straight game, the Reds were without the services of Ryan Ludwick, who has an undisclosed illness.
"He's sicker. We sent him home," Baker said. "He was trying to play yesterday. We want him quarantined. We don't want whatever it is to go around now."
Asked if the club might break camp with extra players and make the final cuts in Cincinnati next week, as it's done in some past springs, Baker hoped it would not come to that.
"You want to start getting your team together as a unit before you get out of here," Baker said. "Sometimes you have to [take extra guys north]. You'd rather not, because that person -- which I've been there before -- doesn't know what to do with their car, do with their clothes. When you get there, do you get an apartment? Do you get an apartment in Louisville or Pensacola? You want to tell them before you leave here."