High pitch count leads to Marmol's exit

MESA, Ariz. -- Carlos Marmol ran out of pitches on Thursday in the seventh inning.

The Cubs' closer was pulled before he could finish his inning against the White Sox, but manager Dale Sveum said Marmol has done better this spring than last year.

Marmol gave up a leadoff double to Conor Gillaspie in the seventh, and Brent Morel reached on a fielder's choice. Third baseman Christian Villanueva failed to hold onto a relay throw from Marmol, and Gillaspie was safe. He then scored on a groundout by Seth Loman.

Marmol struck out Trayce Thompson, but then threw a wild pitch and walked the next two batters before he was lifted.

"He was just kind of missing with his slider, his fastball was just missing," Sveum said of Marmol. "It wasn't like he was awful by no means. He just got the pitch count up. [Bryan Anderson] laid off some pretty good sliders down and in. He put together a pretty good at-bat there."

Plus, if Villanueva makes the play at third, it's a different story.

In four spring games, Marmol has given up four hits and walked four over 3 2/3 innings. But Sveum says the right-hander has good command of his pitches.

"It's been way better than last year at this time," Sveum said.

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.