Notebook: Steve Cishek starts 2014 much like he ended 2013
MIAMI — There’s a difference between pitching in spring training and regular season games.
Look no further than Marlins closer Steve Cishek.
The 27-year-old struggled in Grapefruit League action, allowing eight runs — six earned — on 13 hits over 10 innings for a 2-0 record and 5.40 ERA.
Most of the time, he entered during the middle innings rather than in save situations.
"Obviously spring I didn’t have as much adrenaline going in and just didn’t feel the same," Cishek said. "Once it becomes game time and the lights turn on I get pumped up, get nervous a little bit and try to feed it into my pitches.
"Spring’s great to work on stuff, work on split finger and all that, but the last couple outings [I] wanted to get my slider back and get closer and closer."
Cishek threw a perfect ninth on Tuesday night to preserve a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies. He has now converted 30 consecutive save situations dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the majors and best in franchise history.
"It feels good," Cishek said. "I try not to think about it because the bottom line is the number of wins we have at the end of the year."
TRYING OUT THE PROTOCOL
When Troy Tulowitzski made a highlight-reel play deep in the hole at short with a leaping backhanded throw in the fifth inning, Marlins manager Mike Redmond took his first stab at the club’s instant replay rundown.
"It’s all so new. I’m used to springing out there on the field," Redmond said. "Now, I have to pull myself back a little bit. The key here is to get a little bit of time to make sure we see it and get the call right."
Redmond left the dugout to speak to first-base umpire Mike DiMuro, giving video coaching coordinator Cullen McRae and major league administrative coach Pat Shine time to look over the tape.
It took just 6-7 seconds for their call to get through to bench coach Rob Leary saying the throw beat Marcell Ozuna and that first baseman Justin Morneau kept his foot on the bag.
Hitting coach Frank Menechino gave the thumbs up sign that the call was right. If he had taken his cap off, it would’ve signaled the need for a challenge.
" ‘Hey, you got it. I’m out of here,’ " Redmond told DiMuro.
PLAY AT THE PLATE
A close play at the plate almost brought forth the other big change in the rulebook.
Garrett Jones scored from first on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double to left in the second, but the relay throw from Tulowitzki actually beat him to the plate.
Catcher Wilin Rosario couldn’t secure the high hop, and Jones slid in between his legs for the first run of the game.
"I would’ve gone out there for that, absolutely," Redmond said. "It just looked like a normal play on any normal year where he was blocking the plate and was going to catch the ball and get the guy out. He would’ve slid into him. He was definitely — in my opinion — blocking the plate without the ball."
According to Redmond, a runner can still collide with the catcher if he’s blocking the plate. The adjustment pertains more to the backstop, who must give the runner a lane.
"I think we would’ve scored that run no matter what," Redmond said.
FURCAL INJURY UPDATE
Marlins second baseman Rafael Furcal continues to perform baseball activities, including taking grounders during batting practice, but there is still no projected date of return.
The 36-year-old, who is on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 21) with a strained left hamstring, is eligible to return Sunday.
"He’s starting to pick up his running," Redmond said. "As far as a timetable, we’re still not really sure, but I think we’re hoping as we head on the road (next week) maybe he’ll start the process of getting ready to play."
Furcal also ran on the anti-gravity treadmill on Wednesday. He would likely go to Jupiter, Fla., for extended spring training and get at-bats by playing in games. Furcal, who missed all of 2013 with Tommy John surgery, recorded just 18 at-bats this spring.
"I think he’s feeling better," Redmond said. "We’ll see at the end of the week. Better idea of the gameplan for him as far as (whether) starting to play in some games is a possibility or (he) still needs more time."
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim claimed lefty Michael Brady off waivers. Outfielder Brian Bogusevic was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans.