Sean Marshall: Back to his old Self

Daytona Cubs pitcher Sean Marshall has quickly regained his old form after suffering a season-ending injury last year. The Cubs' sixth round pick in 2003 partially tore a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand last June and then ruptured the same tendon in the Arizona Fall League.

"The tendon is 100 percent healed and the doctors say there is no chance it will be re-injured," Marshall said. "I was throwing a fastball that was not at full strength. It's all healed now. Maybe I came back just a little too quickly (during the Fall League)."

Marshall is 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA through eight starts this season. The southpaw has struck out 43 hitters while allowing 15 walks. Last year at Class-A Lansing, he struck out 51 and walked only four in seven starts.

"I am getting my control back, and staying ahead of hitters has been a big thing," Marshall said. "I had a problem with my feel earlier. I've been pitching with a little more success recently and have been ahead of hitters, so lately I've been really smooth. I feel like I'm getting my velocity back to 92, which is where I was last year before I got hurt."

This is Marshall's first experience in the Florida State League. Last season, the Richmond, Va., native began the year at Lansing before being promoted directly to Double-A in mid-May. Marshall had only thrown 29 innings for the Diamond Jaxx before the injury occurred.

If he hadn't ruptured the tendon last fall, the Virginia Commonwealth alumnus would have likely began 2005 in Jackson.

"I was definitely going to start there, hopefully have some success and then get to Triple-A," Marshall said. "I think if I keep pitching well, they're going to get me out of here so I can see some better hitting and challenge myself to be a better pitcher.

"My first couple of starts at Double-A last year were a little bumpy. My last 2-3 outings before the injury, I was beginning to get a good feel. I'm definitely ready to pitch again at that level."

Marshall has proven thus far that he is still durable. Since his season debut on April 16 at Vero Beach, the 22-year-old has gone at least five innings in every start. He has been a model of consistency for Daytona Pitching Coach Mike Anderson's staff, a group Marshall thinks highly of.

"We have a pretty good rotation," Marshall said. "Our starting five will definitely keep us in games. (Carlos) Marmol has some good stuff. He masters his command and has great pitches."

The Marshall household is quite familiar with baseball. Sean's twin brother, Brian, was selected by the Red Sox one round ahead of Sean in 2003, and the two pitched together in college at VCU.

Brian is also a left-hander and serves as a closer and late-inning situational pitcher. He will pitch for the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Class-A Carolina League later this season.

"We had some games where I threw seven innings and he threw the final two. People didn't know we had changed pitchers," Marshall said.

The Cubs' Marshall is full of confidence and perseverance. He feels he has the potential to be on the fast track to the big leagues. The first step would be a return to Double-A, which he feels could come at any time now.

"The sooner the better, for sure," Marshall said. "I would like to be up there tomorrow. I want to become a better pitcher and challenge myself more."

Marshall is even looking past his immediate goals at this time. He has performed admirably at every stop in his brief minor league career, and there is no secret that pitching at Wrigley field in front of 38,000 fans is something Marshall thinks about regularly.

"I would like to be good enough by the end of this year to pitch in Spring Training with the major league team and be on the 40-man roster next year," Marshall said. "The ultimate goal is to be a September call-up and have a chance to be on the roster next year."

Scott Sabin is the contributing editor of Inside The Ivy. Write to Scott at scott@insidetheivy.com.


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