By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune –
PITTSBURGH — The Chicago Cubs front office is busy preparing for the draft June 4, but President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer can be expected to begin making roster changes shortly afterward.
“You get to the point where if you’re not playing well, things start changing a lot,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Right now the front office is focused on doing the right things in that draft, getting the right people. That’s part of the whole plan, to build through that system.
“There’s a lot of pressure right now to make those decisions. It’s not that easy to get talent, find out the character of the talent, all those things. It’s a crapshoot sometimes.”
The Cubs have the sixth overall pick in the draft.
Shakeup delayed: The long-awaited lineup change turned out to be a minor tremble instead of an earthquake. Sveum took Starlin Castro out of the No. 3 hole, moving him up one slot and inserting bench player Joe Mather into the three-hole
“You have to remember, 10 days ago we were playing pretty good,” Sveum said. “I wouldn’t say we were scoring tons of runs, but we were playing good and had a nice three-week stretch of over-.500 baseball.
“But, you know, it’s time. Mather has been as good as anybody swinging the bat. We’ll give him a little opportunity, see what he can do.
“I told Castro it’s not a demotion. It’s just more of shaking the team up. He was like, ‘I just want to win.’ “
Marmol watch: Carlos Marmol made his first rehab appearance Friday night at Triple-A Iowa and in one inning gave up no runs on one hit, a walk, a strikeout and two ground outs. He threw 16 pitches, nine for strikes.
Sveum said he won’t move back into his closer’s role when he returns next week.
“He’ll still have to prove he’ll throw strikes,” Sveum said. “Just like the same game plan when he was taken out of the closer’s role. Nothing has changed.”
Rafael Dolis had given up runs in his last three outings entering the weekend, but the Cubs blame that on inactivity.
Extra innings: Third baseman Ian Stewart was scratched with a sore left wrist, with Adrian Cardenas taking his place. … Catcher Steve Clevenger is rehabbing at Iowa but won’t return until early June. … Rodrigo Lopez was removed from his start in Iowa on Friday after one pitch. There was no immediate word on his status.