CHICAGO – Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa thought he could pitch through discomfort in his throwing arm.
The issue cropped up a couple of days ago, but it finally became too much for Fujikawa, who was put on the 15-day disabled list before Saturday’s game with a muscle strain in his right forearm. Right-handed reliever Rafael Dolis was called up from Triple-A Iowa after posting a 3.86 ERA in three relief appearances.
Through his interpreter, Fujikawa said there wasn’t one pitch during a specific outing that caused the injury, rather the discomfort progressively became worse.
“Being in an important role with the team, if it’s not helping the team and hurting them, then I think it’s better to make that decision,” Fujikawa said of going on the DL.
Fujikawa, who recently took over the closer’s role from Carlos Marmol, has experienced this injury while pitching in Japan, and he said it caused him to miss up to 10 days one or two times. Before Friday’s game, in which he blew the save, Fujikawa thought about telling the Cubs he couldn’t pitch because of the discomfort. He is 1-0 with two saves and a 12.46 ERA in five appearances.
Closer by committee: Fujikawa’s injury has forced manager Dale Sveum to find another closer for the second time within the Cubs’ first 11 games of the season.
Sveum will approach who pitches in ninth-inning save situations based on matchups. Right-hander Shawn Camp and left-hander James Russell are the first choices. Sveum said he doesn’t plan to use Marmol in save situations right now.
“That’ll be on down the road if anything like that happens,” Sveum said of using Marmol. “I want to keep him in the role we talked about a few days. I’m not going to change that.”
Camp and Russell each recorded two saves last season. Russell said he learned from the experience of trying to get “the three hardest outs in baseball” though he blew three of his five save opportunities in 2012.
“It’s sad seeing Fujikawa going on the DL, but we just have to find a way to close out games and make sure we’re consistently doing it,” Russell said. “However we get it done, as long as we get it done, it doesn’t matter [who’s closing].”
Quick hits: Steve Clevenger underwent an MRI Saturday after suffering an injury on his game-ending strikeout swing. The Cubs believe he hurt his left oblique on the play. ... Pitcher Scott Baker, who is on the 60-day DL as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, was at Wrigley Field Saturday for an evaluation from Dr. Stephen Gryzlo. … Third baseman Ian Stewart (left quad strain) flew to Iowa on Saturday to begin his rehab with the Cubs’ Triple-A team. … Starting pitcher Scott Feldman (back tightness) will have his next start skipped. He was originally slated to pitch Tuesday against Texas and is now scheduled to pitch Saturday at Milwaukee.