Wednesday, March 22, 2006

the euphoria of spring

in new years, the euphoria of primavera often manifests itself in an undue exaggeration of the virtues of youth and a minimization of its vices. as the world is reborn and all things old are made young again, being young suddenly seems perilously close to being best -- placing rationality a distant second to the need to exile the sins of the past.

the euphoria of spring has, in the case of the chicago cubs, poured its elixir over 24-year-old sean marshall. when the chicago tribune is touting your praises, dame fortune and demeter chloe have clearly smiled upon you.

The early leader in the clubhouse for the fifth starting spot April 15 could be left-hander Sean Marshall.

He certainly didn't hurt himself with three scoreless innings Tuesday against the Brewers, running his spring total to 61/3 innings without a run.

"This kid has good stuff," manager Dusty Baker said. "He doesn't seem bothered by too much at all. I really like his control and poise."

this page recently observed marshall's participation in the four-horse race to be april's fifth starter in light of the injuries that once again have decimated the cubs pitching, but yours truly sincerely considered marshall's chances to be a sort of farce. honestly -- who would place a guy in a major league starting rotation who has made just ten careeer starts in double-a, compiling a 4.33 era at west tenn over two seasons?

apparently, the cubs would at least consider it -- and that is a sign of the kind of desperation surrounding the cubs starting pitching situation as april 3 draws near.

this is not to be misinterpreted. this writer considers marshall's output thusfar in the minors to be quite good and would not at all be surprised to see him become a starter for the cubs in years to come.

but that time is not now. marshall spent most of last year putting in a fairly pedestrian performance at high-a daytona, going 4-4 and allowing 63 hits in 69 innings. his season ended last year at west tenn in july with shoulder tendonitis after just 94 innings -- a career high in innings pitched, as he suffered injuries to shorten his season in both 2003 and 2004 as well.

if marshall's ready for the big time, let him prove it at west tenn and iowa. but the last mistake the organization who hurried korey patterson to the majors (or so goes the story) should make is jumping this 24-year-old over two levels of the minors and the bullpen into their starting rotation -- all on the basis of six measly innings pitched in four outings over the last three weeks in mesa. the concept seems so ridiculous to this writer as to leave him agape at the possibility, whether it should or not after years of witnessing the mishandling of young talent.

No comments: