MIAMI — Miami Marlins center fielder Jake Marisnick stepped to the plate for his 2014 debut Monday night more comfortable than he ever felt during his call-up last season.
Marisnick singled up the middle to lead off the first, stole second and scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s two-run homer to right. He finished the night 2 for 6 with two stolen bases, a run and a walk. Last season, Marisnick recorded just three multi-hit games in 40 contests.
"It wasn’t even close," Marisnick said of his nerves. "When I got in the box last year, my mind was racing and everything was going. I was able to clear everything, step in and be relaxed."
In 2013, Marisnick got called up in July. He hit .183 with two doubles, a triple, a homer, three stolen bases and five RBI. It took 14 at-bats for him to collect his first hit.
On Monday, Marisnick was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans after the Marlins placed his good friend Christian Yelich on the 15-day disabled list with lower back stiffness.
Despite hitting .432 with five doubles, a triple and four RBI in 20 Grapefruit League games this spring, Marisnick lost out on the starting center-field job to Marcell Ozuna. He struggled out the gate during the minor-league season.
The 23-year-old put too much pressure on himself, believing that he was so close to reaching the majors again he overdid it.
Manager Mike Redmond likened Marisnick to a "new toy." Marisnick quickly made an impression with his speed for a club second-to-last in the majors in steals.
"Jake’s an exciting player, and he brings a lot and that speed weapon which is nice and something we don’t have a ton of," Redmond said. "I think he showed that last night when he gets on he’s not scared, he’s aggressive, he’s going to try and steal bases and get into scoring position."
Marisnick showcased his speed Monday with a pair of stolen bases, which often catches teams off guard because of his size. Marisnick stands 6-foot-4, 225 pounds.
"It’s actually been one of my bigger emphasis when I was down in Triple-A," Marisnick said. "Any chance I got, I was taking a base and getting in scoring position for the guys behind me. It’s something I bring to the table. I’ve just got to utilize it and be more aggressive like I was last night."
Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 2 for 4 at the plate and caught eight innings in his first rehab game with Single-A Jupiter. Saltalamacchia is on the 15-day DL with a concussion.
The plan calls for him to be the designated hitter Tuesday before a day off Wednesday. He may play again Thursday before re-joining the Marlins on Friday.
"We’ll see from there," Redmond said. "After tomorrow it might be one more game, might be two more games. It depends on how he feels. We’re getting close. Friday maybe. See how he feels Thursday."
A FORGETTABLE DEBUT
It was fitting right-hander Jacob Turner found himself making his first big-league relief appearance Monday — the same day he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen.
Turner, the club’s new long reliever, got two quick outs in the 13th inning before Junior Lake singled. Travis Wood, a starting pitcher pinch-hitting with the Cubs’ bench empty, produced an RBI double down the third-base line for the winning run.
"We gave up a hit to their starting pitcher," Redmond said. "I really don’t know what to say."
Asked following the game whether he was OK with the switch, Turner repeated "Just help the team win" twice.
"As far as adjusting, it’ll be an adjustment warming up, but once you’re out there it’s the same thing," Turner said. "Just go out and make quality pitches."
The transition is nothing new to teammate Tom Koehler, who started Monday’s game. He pitched out of the bullpen at the beginning of 2013 and moved to the rotation.
One of the main adjustments will require him to find a routine that gets his arm loose, particularly during the middle of an inning.
"It’s an adjustment, but at the end of the day if it’s the first inning or the 13th, pitching is pitching," Koehler said. "I think he’ll be fine with the adjustment."
Minutes after collecting his first big-league win, righty Sam Dyson learned he was being sent down to Triple-A New Orleans with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi rejoining the club from the paternity list.
Dyson was called up on Sunday when Eovaldi left for Houston to be present for the birth of his first child. Dyson pitched 1 1/3 innings on Tuesday, coming on in relief for starter Anthony DeSclafani.
Although he allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh on Luis Valbuena’s one-out double, he got out of that frame with no additional damage. Garrett Jones put the Marlins up 6-4 with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the seventh. Dyson worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless eighth to help an overtaxed bullpen.
The 26-year-old went 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in five games (one start) as a late-season call-up for the Marlins in 2013. He didn’t earn a decision in two appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
"He got a win," Redmond said. "I got him the game card, so he was pretty fired up about that. But he didn’t want to put it in his bag, so I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna keep it for you then.’ So I got it. He got it in my office."
— Nathan Eovaldi and his wife, Rebekah, welcomed their first child, Jace. Eovaldi will return to Miami on Tuesday night and will start Wednesday’s finale against the Chicago Cubs.
— Rafael Furcal returned to the lineup leading off and starting at second. Redmond gave him Monday off after he fouled off a ball near his left knee on Sunday. Furcal came off the 60-day DL Friday.
— Stanton’s line-drive two-run home run off right-hander Jason Hammel still had his skipper impressed a day later. He sent a 1-1 pitch just over the right-field wall on a rope.
"I watched Gary Sheffield hit a home run off Antonio Alfonseca at Pro Player Stadium down the left-field line and I thought that was the hardest ball at that point I’ve seen hit, until yesterday, until I saw that ball hit," Redmond said.
"It got out of here quick. You don’t have to hit it 500 feet to make a statement."