3/12/2014 4:55 P.M. ET
Hitless string ends, but Alvarez still solid
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- You have to go back to Sept. 24, 2013, to find the last time Henderson Alvarez allowed a hit in a Major League sanctioned game.
Spring Training statistics, obviously, don't count. But unofficially, Alvarez had a string of 13 straight hitless innings.
Alvarez, in line to be the Marlins' No. 3 starter, no-hit the Tigers in the regular-season finale, and he opened his Grapefruit League stint by tossing three perfect innings against the Cardinals last Friday.
The hitless string was snapped when Atlanta's B.J. Upton singled with one out in the first inning on Wednesday in Miami's 3-1 loss at Roger Dean Stadium.
"It happens," Alvarez said of yielding a hit. "I'm glad I got it over with."
The last regular-season hit given up by Alvarez was a one-out single to Philadelphia's Cameron Rupp in the seventh inning on Sept. 24.
Alvarez actually gave up five hits in 3 2/3 innings on Wednesday, with the biggest one being Evan Gattis' one-out home run in the fourth inning.
If you go back to Sept. 24, Alvarez had gone 21 straight innings without allowing a run before the Gattis blast to left.
"I felt good. Thankfully I'm healthy," the right-hander said. "I'm continuously working towards Opening Day and whatever role they put me in as a starter."
Alvarez offers a different style because he can change speeds probably better than anyone in the Marlins' rotation.
"He looked similar to me," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's got the ability to be able to pitch. I think he, probably unlike anyone else we have, is able to pitch successfully at 89 [mph], and then he can throw 96 when he needs to. That's the beauty of Henderson Alvarez: He's crafty when he wants to. When he wants to turn it on, he can turn it on. He threw some nice breaking balls. He got out of the jams he got in."
Alvarez is more at ease this spring. A year ago, he pitched for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and he dealt with some right shoulder discomfort, which led to him opening the season on the disabled list.
"Last spring, I had issues with my shoulder," Alvarez said. "This year, thanks to the work I did in Venezuela, I was able to work on some things and I feel healthier."
Jensen one of young Marlins sent down
JUPITER, Fla. -- Kyle Jensen belted the game-winning, two-run home run in the ninth inning on Tuesday, but on Wednesday morning, the slugger was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
The Marlins' decision was made before Jensen's dramatic shot to beat the Red Sox, 5-4, on Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla. Jensen was one of 12 players sent down in the first wave of cuts, leaving 56 in camp.
Before heading to Minor League camp, Jensen gained some notice by displaying the power that he has exhibited throughout his professional career. Although he is now preparing to open the season at New Orleans, Jensen could make his way back to the big leagues, if he produces.
"This guy has a got a lot of pop," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's hit a ton of home runs in the Minor Leagues. I think it was fun to finally see that translate in an at-bat in the big leagues.
"A guy with a bat like that, if he hits, you'll find a spot for him. The more options he has defensively, the better. For us and for him as well."
Jensen has 101 career Minor League home runs, including 28 last year between Double-A Jacksonville and New Orleans. He's primarily been used in the outfield. The Marlins want Jensen to also work at first base.
"We've talked all spring about versatility and moving guys around at different positions," Redmond said. "He's going to continue to work at first base as well."
Along with Jensen, the Marlins also sent down several of their projected starting rotation at Jacksonville, including Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, and Jose Urena.
Michael Brady was optioned to New Orleans. Angel Sanchez, Urena, Brent Keys, Grant Dayton and J.T. Realmuto were optioned to Jacksonville.
DeSclafani, Nicolino, Jesus Sanchez, Colby Suggs and Avery Romero were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Dunn, Marmol could close if Cishek unavailable
JUPITER, Fla. -- In Steve Cishek, the Marlins have a highly capable closer who is riding a string of 29 straight converted saves.
But who is the fallback option if Cishek isn't available?
"We're still trying to figure that out," manager Mike Redmond said.
Left-hander Mike Dunn could be a main candidate, and Carlos Marmol previously closed with the Cubs. A.J. Ramos is another possibility.
"Dunn could close games," Redmond said. "I'd have no hesitation putting him out there. You take a guy like Marmol, that's been his role. He obviously has had a lot of experience closing down games. He has a ton of saves in the big leagues. That would be a natural fit for him, too."
Marmol has 117 career saves, while Dunn has just three, with two in 2013. Marmol had an impressive 1 1/3 innings of relief on Wednesday against the Braves. He didn't allow a hit, and needed just 10 pitches, nine for strikes.
From the sounds of it, Ramos may be more suited to set up. Marmol also was signed to set up, but he does offer a closer option.
"Dunn can match up against lefties and righties," Redmond said. "I'd have no hesitation putting him in any big situation."