Marlins notes: Reliever Henry Rodriguez en route to join team
SAN DIEGO — A No. 63 Miami Marlins jersey waited for its owner in the visiting clubhouse before Sunday’s series finale at Petco Park.
Right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez, whose contract was officially selected on Sunday morning with the designation of Carlos Marmol, was still en route to Southern California.
In 12 appearances for Triple-A New Orleans, Rodriguez went 0-0 with a save and 3.26 ERA. Over 19 1/3 innings, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits with 37 strikeouts and 23 walks. His fastball ranged from 98 to 101 mph.
His last three outings stood out most to the organization: seven scoreless frames with 14 strikeouts and four walks. Five days ago, he needed just 30 pitches over three perfect innings.
"We think that the time he spent in the minor leagues we got a little more consistency from him," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We all saw his stuff, but we also saw it could be a little inconsistent. But he’s coming off some solid outings in a row. It just felt like it was time to take a look."
Rodriguez, a non-roster invitee entering the spring, gave up six runs in nine Grapefruit League innings before becoming one of the last players to be reassigned to minor-league camp on March 27.
"We were lucky that we were able to keep him down in the system," manager Mike Redmond said. "From what I’ve heard he’s pitched well down there in the minor leagues. Bring him up here and see what he can do. Maybe he’ll be a big spark for us in the bullpen."
The 27-year-old is 5-7 with a 4.24 ERA and 11 saves over parts of five major-league seasons with the A’s, Nationals and Cubs. Last year, he issued 18 walks and fanned just 12 in 22 innings with Washington and Chicago. Like Marmol, command can be an issue with Rodriguez.
Redmond didn’t know what role Rodriguez would be plugged into. Miami’s bullpen currently ranks 23rd with a 4.25 ERA.
"He’s a guy with a big fastball, power pitcher," Redmond said. "He’s done a lot of different roles. It depends on the situation. We get him out there, see how he looks and see what he can do."
McGEHEE’S LONG BALL
Casey McGehee connected on his first home run of the season — a two-run shot to center — off lefty Eric Stults in the first inning of Saturday’s game.
It came on his 154th plate appearance. Up to that point, McGehee led the majors with the most RBI (23) without the benefit of a dinger.
"At that time it was getting Nathan (Eovaldi) a couple of runs," McGehee said. "That was the thing to feel the best about. It was definitely good to get the first one out of the way."
McGehee, who knocked 28 homers in 144 games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan in 2013, also notched his first long ball in the majors since June 5, 2012.
The 31-year-old didn’t even think about that until somebody mentioned it to him once he got back to the team hotel.
"That’s the first time I thought about it from that standpoint," McGehee said. "I don’t think about whatever I missed out on from last year too often. I’m just happy to be here. It’s not like I was sitting at home collecting dust. I was still playing."
The Marlins wore enough pink on Sunday to resemble a flamboyance of flamingos one could find at the nearby San Diego Zoo.
Miami once again took part in the league-wide initiative to raise awareness for breast cancer research on Mother’s Day.
Christian Yelich and Jarrod Saltalamacchia sported pink-colored cleats. Tom Koehler had pink sunglasses. Others decided to use pink bats and wristbands. For the first time, pink baseballs were used during games.
Garrett Jones not only went with pink shoelaces but an arm sleeve that Giancarlo Stanton usually wears. Two years ago, Stanton blasted a walk-off grand slam against the New York Mets on Mother’s Day.
"We’ve all got them going," Stanton said of his trademark arm sleeve. "I’ll have mine."
With the organization in Southern California, Hill planned on watching one of baseball’s top prospects on Monday.
Alex Jackson, a senior catcher at Rancho Bernando High School, is expected to be one of the top picks at next month’s First-Year Player Draft. He is the last of the remaining elite players the Marlins have yet to see in person.
Miami has the second overall selection.
"I think we know who’s in consideration to be taken, and I think we’re scouting them up until the last moment," Hill said. "These have been the guys identified by our staff coming into the season. We’re going to get every ounce of information and then get together for our meetings and try to put it all together."
Hill noted that this year’s draft is different from previous ones when there was just one elite player like Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper before a noticeable drop-off.
"They’re all talented guys with different backgrounds," Hill said. "Hopefully the one we want will be there and will be a big leaguer for a long time."