Draft Class '04 Roundup: Jake Marsello

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B> - RHP Jake Marsello, an 18th round draft pick out of Boston College, says his lifelong dream was to play for the hometown Red Sox. Instead, he was selected by the Cubs where he hopes to be a future closer within the organization.

"All of us from back home wanted to grow up and play for the Sox," said Marsello, who went 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 appearances during his final season with the Golden Eagles. "The Cubs are a very good organization and I have no complaints about being drafted by them; I just want to play ball."

Indeed, Marsello's disappointment isn't about who drafted him, but rather a torn labrum that the right-handed pitcher suffered last year while pitching for the Cubs' rookie team in Mesa.

"After college, I took it so easy that I was perhaps a little out of shape," said Marsello, who appeared in three games for Mesa and struck out seven batters. "I was closing those first few games. I was supposed to get moved up, but I went to play catch one day and had a problem with my shoulder."

Marsello said he didn't know exactly where he would go on draft day; just that he knew it would be somewhere on the first day.

"Everyone wants to go early," Marsello said. "I wasn't sure when, but it all worked out in the end. My last year (at Boston College) was good; I came in thinking about trying to have a good year so that I would get drafted. Everything worked out especially well."

In terms of repertoire, the 22-year-old features a three-pitch arsenal: fastball, slider, changeup. He admits to once using a curveball but insists he cut back on the pitch after considering it a sort of 'weakest link.'

"Since I started closing, I basically just wanted to eliminate any one pitch that wasn't up to par," said Marsello. "I don't think I threw it as much, and I didn't really work on it as much, so it just sort of trailed off."

One thing Marsello hopes will also trail off are his walk totals. In his three-year career at Boston College, he walked 66 batters while striking out 82.

"If I had to describe myself, I'd say I'm wild, but I'm a good kind of wild if you know what I mean," Marsello said. "I'm not the kind of guy who is going to nibble around; I'm going to go after people. Sometimes that means I'll hit people and sometimes I'll walk people."

While Marsello's return is expected to be late in the year, he will begin rehab Tuesday.

"This will actually be my first day of playing catch in eight or nine months," said Marsello, who last pitched in a live game on June 27 with Mesa. "I'll be doing about 3-5 hours of rehab a day to get my strength, flexibility and all that's needed back."

The estimated time of recovery from the injury was originally 10-12 months. Marsello still has approximately another four months to go before he will likely see live action again. If all goes well, he could make his Class-A debut some time in August. Marsello spent three years at Boston College before being drafted after his junior season; he was also used as an outfielder there.


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