Marshall on Wednesday

DES MOINES – It is still anyone's guess right now as to when Sean Marshall will get the call to rejoin his Chicago teammates from last year and Spring Training of this season, but the left-hander has gotten two quality or semi-quality starts under his belt in the minor leagues recently.

Marshall started for Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader against Nashville, which the Cubs won, 2-1.

After a rocky start to the game that saw Marshall load the bases with a walk, a single to right field and an infield hit that Scott Moore was unable to handle, the southpaw got out of the jam by inducing a popup to first base before notching a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

After the first inning, which saw Marshall throw 19 pitches to six hitters, he settled down and threw 64 pitches (46 strikes) combined. All told, he gave up seven hits and one unearned run, striking out five and walking one.

All seven hits that Marshall allowed were singles – the majority of which were infield hits or "bloopers" that landed just in front of the outfield.

Arguably only one hit allowed by Marshall was a legitimate contact hit – a single to right by Nashville's Chris Barnwell in the first. His fastball was consistently in the mid-to-upper 80s with a top-out speed of 88 mph.

Marshall exited in the fifth when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter, even though he stood in the on-deck circle and most likely would have batted had Iowa not been trailing 1-0 with two on and two out.

Before the game, Marshall implied that his start Wednesday was more about getting refocused on facing opposing hitters at or near his level than continuing to shake the rust off from his extended spring training.

"I've started several games this year in Mesa and I did well in the game the other day in Daytona," Marshall had said. "This will be my first start back against some decent hitters so hopefully my command is good enough and a win will be a definite possibility."

Marshall isn't sure how long he'll continue to pitch for Iowa but like most everyone else, he sees himself as a legitimate contender for a back-end spot in the Chicago rotation.

"Hopefully, my arm will cooperate and I'll get back to where I was last year and get back up to the big leagues," he said.

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