3/22/2014 6:57 P.M. ET
Slowey not stressing out about role on pitching staff
By Joe Frisaro and Andrew Simon / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- As a younger pitcher, the Marlins' Kevin Slowey might be stressing out at this time of year about making a team or securing a certain role. But the 29-year-old said that isn't the case for him this spring, even as he finds himself battling to lock down a spot as the fifth starter or a long reliever.
"I think I've been playing long enough to understand that all I can control is out on the mound, and that's it," Slowey said after pitching three innings of relief against the Nationals in Saturday's split-squad game. "I'm thankful for that wisdom and those years of competing. I'd say in the early years of my career, I'd be fretting about what to do and how to do it and who's doing what and what they're thinking.
"But this organization has proven to be able to put together world championship teams and they know what they're doing. My hope is I can have a role, whatever that might be with them."
Slowey came in for starter Henderson Alvarez and pitched two scoreless frames before encountering trouble in the seventh. Adam LaRoche led off with what appeared to be a wind-aided home run to left field, and Danny Espinosa followed with a homer to right-center.
Slowey finished with two runs and three hits allowed, walking none and striking out two. Despite the homers, he was happy with the outing and how his spring has gone as a whole.
"I think every time they give me the ball, my goal is to be able to throw strikes and for them to see I'm 100 percent healthy and also have the ability to eat up innings whenever they need me to in whatever role that might be," Slowey said. "That's been the goal all spring, and I feel I've been able to accomplish that."
As for Alvarez, he struck out Denard Span, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman within his first four batters and finished with four whiffs in four innings. The righty gave up five hits, one walk and two runs (one earned). He lowered his spring ERA to 1.84.
"He's got good stuff," catcher Jeff Mathis said. "As far as fastball goes, he throws a four-seamer, two-seamer and he's developing a pretty good changeup. And when you have that to go along with the slider, I don't care what lineup it is, if he's on, he's going to be good."
Dietrich, LeBron have yet another thing in common
JUPITER, Fla. -- Derek Dietrich now has more than just Cleveland ties to LeBron James. The two share a common bond in both having protective face masks designed by the same person.
Dietrich, the 24-year-old Marlins infielder competing for a roster spot, fractured the top of his nose on Thursday. On Friday, he was fitted for a clear mask similar to what James recently wore with the NBA's Miami Heat.
"I don't know what the feelings are on LeBron these days in Cleveland," Dietrich said, "but that was a pretty cool mask that he got to wear. The same individual that made mine made his."
Dietrich has joked with the Marlins media relations department about coming up with some marketing gimmick with the Heat and James.
"We need to get something there," Dietrich said. "Miami Marlins. Miami Heat. Cleveland guys. We both had to wear a mask."
In Dietrich's broken-nose scenario, he appears to have escaped a more serious setback. If Dietrich keeps progressing, the left-handed-hitting infielder could be back in a Grapefruit League game on Monday.
"As soon as he gets that mask and sees how it fits and feels for him, he should be available to play," manager Mike Redmond said. "Probably on Monday, I'd think."
Dietrich will wear the mask in the field, not when he hits.
Dietrich took batting practice on Saturday morning but didn't take any ground balls.
Dietrich was picking the mask up on Saturday afternoon. If there is no issue with its comfort, he will start taking ground balls.
The Marlins are in Lakeland, Fla., to face the Tigers on Sunday, so he will not make the long trip. The Nationals are in Jupiter on Monday.
Having to wear a mask for about a week has made Dietrich the target for some practical jokes. When the infielder arrived at the clubhouse on Saturday, a catcher's helmet was placed in his locker.
"I didn't even look at my locker, and they said my mask was here," Dietrich said. "I said, 'Really?' I was supposed to get it today. I'm going to pick it up. Stuff like that is what keeps this clubhouse so close. I think that's why we're going to have an even better season and surprise some people."
Hand struggles with mechanics, roughed up by Mets
JUPITER, Fla. -- The life on the fastball was there, but the crispness of the offspeed pitches wasn't.
Brad Hand, who has enjoyed a strong Spring Training, was a bit off mechanically, and it ended up hurting him on Saturday in the Marlins' 10-2 loss to the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.
The left-hander gave up five runs in four innings, and he surrendered a two-run homer to Travis d'Arnaud and a three-run blast to Wilmer Flores.
"He was just a little bit up in the zone," manager Mike Redmond said. "Fell behind a few guys. Looked like he was fighting his curveball a little bit. You could tell he was trying to make the adjustment to get that thing down in the zone for a strike. It was just one of those days."
Until Saturday, Hand has had his share of good days this spring. He entered the game having walked two in eight innings. The lefty walked three against the Mets, and two of them scored on home runs.
"You've just got to forget about it as soon as possible," Hand said. "Monday, I'll throw one more bullpen [session]. Hopefully I'll get one more start, end strong and see what happens from there."
There is still uncertainty regarding Hand's status. The lefty is out of options, and he is in competition with Tom Koehler and Kevin Slowey for the fifth-starter's spot.
The Marlins may not be able to retain all three. Certainly, they can take two, with one being used in the bullpen as a spot starter or long reliever.
For Hand, Saturday was a day he was off with his mechanics, which led to him getting behind in counts.
"My stuff has been feeling good," Hand said. "I think today was just one of those days where something wasn't right. You just weren't clicking. Your mechanics were a little bit off, throwing everything off."
Marisnick dilemma: More seasoning or is he ready?
JUPITER, Fla. -- A few years ago, Mike Redmond had the chance to manage Jake Marisnick in the Minor Leagues.
Redmond was in the Blue Jays' system, and Marisnick then was a 19-year-old center-field prospect.
"I saw him as an everyday player and a guy with the potential to be an All-Star," Redmond said. "That's what I saw. That was in A-Ball. He could run. You saw the power potential."
Now managing the Marlins, Redmond sees Marisnick as a promising talent who appears close to living up to his potential.
Marisnick, who turns 23 on March 30, is competing for a roster spot. Based on Spring Training numbers, the speedy center fielder has made a strong case. He entered Saturday batting .429 with three doubles, a triple, four RBIs and four stolen bases.
But the team is looking at more than just statistics. There is an issue of consistency with his swing, which Marisnick has shortened.
So the team is debating: Is he ready now or would some time at Triple-A New Orleans be more beneficial.
"He's had a great spring, too," Redmond said. "It's been fun to able to watch him. He's in the middle of those tough decisions. He's definitely made a case for himself. Those are ones where we have to decide: Does he need more at-bats in the Minor Leagues or is he ready to play in the big leagues?"
Marcell Ozuna is another center-field option, but the team also is asking if he could use more seasoning to refine his swing.
Christian Yelich has been playing more center field of late. Marisnick played on Saturday in Viera, Fla., against the Nationals.
"I've seen Jake since he was 19 years old in Toronto," Redmond said. "He's gotten a lot better. As a manager, when you sit there and watch your young players, you want to see them continually improve. And continue to improve in the areas they know that they have to to be successful. I think Jake has shown a lot of improvement."
• Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) tested his leg by running the bases on Saturday. Before getting into game action, Furcal is going through a running progression program. Whether he will be ready for Opening Day remains in question.
• Greg Dobbs (left quadriceps) had some at-bats in a Minor League game on Saturday.
• Ed Lucas (left hamstring) is getting a day to rest on Saturday. He is expected to start at first base on Sunday at Lakeland against the Tigers.
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Sunday night will be honored as the 2013 Professional Athlete of the Year for Palm Beach County by the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. The catcher is expected to be in attendance.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.