Notebook: Nathan Eovaldi learning not to do too much
JUPITER, Fla. — Miami Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi learned a valuable lesson during Thursday’s game against the Boston Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium.
The 24-year-old, projected as the rotation’s second arm, tried to do too much in his two scoreless, one-hit innings.
Initially scheduled to pitch three frames, he went just two because he needed 49 pitches (33 strikes) to get through nine batters. He struck out four batters and walked one.
Eovaldi escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning but threw 36 pitches (22 strikes) and went to three full counts.
Jackie Bradley Jr. flied out to left, Alex Hassan knocked a ground-rule double to center and Garin Cecchini struck out swinging. Eovaldi hit Ryan Lavarnway with one of his four changeups and walked Travis Shaw before Brandon Synder struck out looking.
"Right in the middle of the zone and he crushed it," Eovaldi said of Hassan’s shot. "Other than that I felt like I made most of my pitches."
Eovaldi fared better in the second by retiring Bryce Brentz via a strikeout swinging, Deven Marrero on a groundout to second and Heiker Meneses on a strikeout looking.
"I felt good," said Eovaldi, whose fastball reached 98 mph. "I got the guys 0-2 and tried to do too much with my off-speed pitches and fastball trying to be too fine and make the nasty pitches. Ended up 0-2, 2-2, full count, guys fouling off multiple pitches.
"Second inning was a lot better. As opposed to on the corner or off the plate, ‘just think down.’ If it’s over the middle just think down in the strike zone. Good is good enough."
Right-hander Carlos Marmol was back with the team on Thursday after taking care of visa issues in the Dominican Republic.
Marmol said he threw and worked out while over there, so he remains on schedule.
The 31-year-old, who left last Saturday, will throw a bullpen Thursday and Friday. He expects to make his spring training debut Sunday against the Detroit Tigers.
Miami signed Marmol, an eight-year veteran and former closer, to a one-year deal this offseason to provide experience for a young bullpen.
"I’m ready to go Sunday," Marmol said.
When Marlins personnel sat down to evaluate the 2013 season, it targeted doing the little things right.
After finishing 24-35 in one-run games, baserunning gaffes and poor bunting were magnified.
That’s where new third base coach Brett Butler comes in.
"He’s brought a lot of knowledge and experience to our team," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He’s been able to help not just our young guys but older guys the importance of baserunning and doing whatever it takes to get on base and then how aggressive to be when we get on the bases."
Whether first-to-third plays or balls in the dirt, Redmond believes execution "maybe would’ve gotten us over the hump."
Butler has even tossed around ideas to guys like Christian Yelich, who could take advantage of shifts or a deep infield by laying down a drag bunt on occasion.
"The more weapons these guys have, the better off we’re going to be as a team," Redmond said.
Several pitchers will make their spring debuts this weekend: Henderson Alvarez (Friday), Henry Rodriguez (Saturday) and Marmol (Sunday).
"It’s good to get those guys in the mix," Redmond said. "Get those guys in some game action and let them go out there and get their pitches in and compete and see how they look."
Redmond said he would begin giving catchers consecutive days beginning March 10. He is allowing them to "get their legs under them." Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who played five innings behind the plate Thursday, will be Friday’s designated hitter.