3/11/2014 5:04 P.M. ET
Flynn pleased with first Grapefruit League start
By Joe Frisaro and Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brian Flynn got back on the mound as a starting pitcher on Tuesday, and he was pleased with the early returns. Flynn, who had struggled to find his rhythm and his mechanics in two relief appearances, fired three scoreless innings in the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.
Flynn, acquired from the Tigers along with Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner in a 2012 trade that sent Anibal Sanchez to Detroit, is on the fringe of the battle for the fifth-starter's slot with the Marlins. The left-hander said Tuesday that he had been anticipating his start and was thrilled with the way it went.
"I was definitely looking forward to that," Flynn said. "It definitely paid off today, just having a time frame that you're comfortable with. Get on the mound, come in the dugout, sit down for a little bit. Just the routine was really comfortable, but at the same time, I think if I would've brought the stuff I had in the last two outings to today, it would've turned out just the same. You've got to get outs either way."
Flynn, who allowed four earned runs in four innings in his first two spring outings, was all but unhittable against the Red Sox. Boston started several regulars, including David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia and David Ross, but Flynn escaped three innings and allowed only one baserunner.
Flynn, just 23 years old, needed that kind of challenge. The former seventh-round draftee logged an 0-2 record and an 8.50 ERA in four late-season starts with the Marlins last season, but he logged a 2.63 ERA in 27 starts split between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans.
Now, facing the defending World Series champions, Flynn just wanted to find himself.
"Today, I really wanted to get my rhythm down," said Flynn. "My arm's been dragging behind me. Everything's just a little off mechanically. Today, I wanted to throw a lot of fastballs, pound the strike zone with the fastball. That's what I tried to do today. Today was a good day for me, because I could feel when I was throwing high, felt why and make the adjustment to get it back down."
Flynn retired three big leaguers -- Grady Sizemore, Pedroia and Ortiz -- in order in the first inning, and then he got Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts in the second. Jonathan Herrera got Boston's only hit against Flynn, but he was subsequently thrown out trying to steal second base.
"It was definitely his best outing of the spring," said manager Mike Redmond. "It looked like his tempo was good and he had some nice downward tilt to his fastball. He got some relatively easy outs. That was good. That was the best I've seen him, probably maybe even including last year during the regular season. He looked like he had command of his offspeed pitches and pounded the strike zone."
Eovaldi works on curve, changeup in simulated game
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi used Tuesday's simulated game on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium to change things up a bit.
In four innings during an intrasquad scrimmage, Eovaldi threw 60 pitches before calling it a day. He estimates almost half of them were offspeed, with an emphasis on his curveball and changeup.
"I'm really trying to work on those two," Eovaldi said. "I'm trying to get a feel for those two. I threw the changeup really well today. It was just a good opportunity to work on it."
Projected as the Marlins' No. 2 starter, Eovaldi has an overpowering fastball that he used 70 percent of the time a year ago.
Already in Spring Training, Eovaldi's fastball has ranged between 97-101 mph, making him the hardest-throwing starter in camp.
To reach another level, Eovaldi is looking to be a more balanced pitcher, and not rely so heavily on his fastball. He also throws a slider, which he got a strikeout on Tuesday.
The benefit of pitching in a simulated game, mostly against Marlins' Minor Leaguers, Eovaldi had a chance to experiment. In a Grapefruit League game against big leaguers, there is more adrenaline and it isn't the time to tinker.
"It's nice, you get to come out here and work on certain pitches," Eovaldi said. "When you are facing guys you're going to be facing during the season, you're going to be giving it everything you've got. Out here, you get to work on back-to-back changeups. I haven't really thrown too many of those. I'd throw sliders in fastball counts."
Eovaldi's next start will be on Sunday against the Yankees in Panama.
Also on Tuesday, first baseman Garrett Jones used the simulated game to get about a handful of extra at-bats. Jones led off several innings, and he had a single off Eovaldi.
Baker, Furcal could return to lineup this weekend
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Marlins won't be short-handed for long. Jeff Baker and Rafael Furcal both left Monday's game with injuries, but manager Mike Redmond said they could be back by the end of the weekend. Furcal is slowed by a left hamstring injury and Baker is battling a sore left quadriceps.
"I think they both came in feeling better than they anticipated, so that's good for us," said Redmond of the two veterans. "They're just going to be day to day. We'll get them out there in the next couple days moving around and we'll see how they progress. As of right now, it sounds like good news."
Furcal, who missed last season after undergoing an operation on his throwing elbow, is attempting a transition to second base this spring. Furcal is batting .125 through his first six games. Baker, who played five positions for the Rangers last season, is batting .313 in Spring Training.
The Marlins won't have an off-day until March 19, and they'll have plenty of time to look at other infield options while Furcal and Baker are on the mend. Neither Furcal nor Baker is scheduled to make the team's weekend trip to Panama, and the club will be as careful as the situation dictates.
"This is the time of Spring Training where it's a three-week period where guys start getting banged up a little bit," said Redmond. "For sure, we want to monitor them. We want to keep all our guys healthy. We have time to get these guys at-bats and do what we need to do to get them ready for Opening Day. We don't want to push them until they're physically ready to be able to go out there and play."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.