Marlins option former closer Steve Cishek to Double-A

 

The Miami Marlins optioned Opening Day closer Steve Cishek to Double-A Jacksonville following Monday night’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs — a game in which Cishek did not pitch.

Cishek, who was taken out of the role last month after blowing four of seven saves, is 1-5 with a 6.98 ERA in 19 appearances this season. Manager Dan Jennings didn’t anticipate it being a "long-term deal" when making the announcement.

"We’re going to send him down and allow him to work on some mechanical things," Jennings said. "Jacksonville happens to be in town. Our Triple-A New Orleans team is out west. Our minor league pitching rover Charlie Corbell, who was his pitching coach, is there as well as Derek Botelho, so they’re going to spend some time working with Steve on a few things. Thought it would be beneficial to take him out of the spotlight of the major leagues and let him mechanically get ironed out."

Jennings said Cishek is healthy, noting his velocity reached 93 mph in Sunday’s outing in New York against the Mets. Rather it’s about "executing pitches" and working on mechanics with extended innings in the minor leagues.

Prior to giving up the decisive run with two outs on Sunday, Cishek had tossed three consecutive scoreless outings. Twelve of his 19 appearances have been scoreless, but four have been multi-run affairs. Batters are hitting .321 against him with a .910 OPS.

Righty A.J. Ramos has converted all four of his save chances since filling in for Cishek.

"It’s just a couple of mechanical things that some of our people have looked at, feel like that it is very correctible," Jennings said. "In Steve’s mind he realizes that as well. He pitched a great inning for us in Pittsburgh and he comes in in a 3-3 game in the seventh inning in New York. He threw the ball outstanding. Thought we had a check swing strikeout. It turned into a base hit. This is a results league, but at the same time you have to look at mechanical things and how close guys truly are and sometimes it can benefit them to go down where it’s not on ‘SportsCenter’ every night and they have that opportunity to iron out things. That’s where we are."

Cishek, who turns 29 later this month, was taken by the Marlins in the fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He is the second-longest tenured Marlin behind Giancarlo Stanton. Cishek avoided arbitration this winter by signing a one-year deal worth $6.65 million.

Heading into 2015, Cishek had saved 91 of 101 opportunities. In 2014, he ranked fourth in the National League in save percentage (90.7). His 39 saves tied for fifth. Since 2013, his 76 saves tied for ninth among all relievers.

"He was a pro," Jennings said of Cishek’s reaction to the news. "He’s always a pro. He’s upbeat, he’s positive. He feels like he’s very close to mechanically getting ironed out to where he can help out. We still believe in him and who he is and what he’s done. But this was an organization decision that felt was the right thing to do to take him out of the spotlight of the major leagues and let him get ironed out so when he does come back in a short time he’ll be ready to go and ready to help."

Miami will make a corresponding roster move before Tuesday’s game.

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.