4/25/2014 7:23 P.M. ET
Late-inning spots 'up for grabs' in Marlins' bullpen
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- So often in the young season, Marlins games are being decided by one misplaced pitch or one big hit allowed.
At a time Miami starters are settling into a groove, the relievers have had their struggles. They've been prone to allowing a game-changing hit, especially the long ball.
From the seventh inning on, the Marlins' team ERA is 4.45, which ranks 12th in the 15-team National League. They've allowed nine home runs, fourth most. Not all of those numbers are on the relievers. For instance, starter Nathan Eovaldi surrendered a three-run homer in the seventh inning in a loss to the Padres on April 6.
The relievers have had their struggles, however, with inherited runners. In all, nine of them have scored. Only the Cubs and D-backs (14 each) have allowed more inherited runners to score in the NL.
Mike Dunn has had his struggles, posting an 8.31 ERA in 8 2/3 innings, and Carlos Marmol has thrown nine innings with a 4.00 ERA, but the four runs he's allowed came on Jayson Werth's grand slam at Washington on April 9. A.J. Ramos has been the most effective of the late-inning setup relievers, allowing one run in 9 1/3 innings.
"We just need to keep plugging guys in there, and we need somebody to step up and get some big outs," manager Mike Redmond said. "That's really what it comes down to. We've been in a lot of close games, but unfortunately we've given up some big hits late in those games to lose."
In situations considered late and close, the Marlins have given up six home runs. According to STATS Pass, late and close is defined as innings seventh or later, and the batting team being ahead by one run, tied or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck. In such situations, only the Phillies and Pirates -- each with seven -- are ahead of Miami.
"It really comes down to trying to find those guys that are going to be able to pitch in those late innings," Redmond said. "We're going to really try everybody to see what's going to work, and who is going to take those late innings. It's really up for grabs."
Reflective Fernandez visits World Trade Center site
NEW YORK -- The Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center happened when Jose Fernandez was a 9-year-old living in Cuba. The tragedy continues to hit home for the Marlins' 21-year-old ace.
On Thursday, Fernandez spent part of his off-day visiting the grounds where the attack occurred and the Freedom Tower now stands.
"That's more important than anything to me," Fernandez said. "I needed to go there. Being there makes you realize a lot of things we take for granted here."
As a child in Cuba, Fernandez knew something terrible occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, but he didn't have many specifics.
"We heard about it," he said. "Not exactly what happened, but we saw the images."
Fernandez has had his own quest for freedom, defecting from Cuba at 15, and settling in Tampa, Fla.
Fernandez posted a photo on Instagram (josedfez16) of himself at the Freedom Tower.
"It's pretty special to be there, even though I wasn't here when it happened," Fernandez said. "It was really special to go there and pay respect to people who died there."
Marmol shakes off injury, but likely to rest day or two
NEW YORK -- Carlos Marmol is cleared and ready to return to the Marlins' bullpen. But chances are the right-hander will still get another game or two of rest before he sees game action.
"He threw a little bullpen [session], it looks like he is going to be fine," manager Mike Redmond said.
Marmol exited Wednesday's game at Atlanta in the seventh inning due to tightness in his right hamstring. The discomfort occurred as he pushed off the rubber with his right leg. Miami was off on Thursday, allowing Marmol another day of rest.
With chilly temperatures in store for the weekend at New York, it is doubtful Marmol will pitch either Friday or Saturday night.
The series finale is a day game on Sunday, and Miami is off on Monday before facing the Braves at Marlins Park on Tuesday. So there is no need to risk pushing him back into action.
"Obviously, we have a bunch of guys who are fresh," Redmond said.
Marmol said he sustained a similar ailment a few years ago when he was in Chicago.
"It's happened before," Marmol said. "It's just when I push off."
The veteran Marmol is a big part of the back end of the Marlins' bullpen.
Marlins ready for revised transfer rule
NEW YORK -- Twice in the past week, the Marlins benefited from MLB's stricter interpretation of the transfer rule. They now are prepared to move forward with the revised version of the rule.
MLB on Friday announced a modification where the infielder doesn't have to maintain full possession of the ball if he had the ball squeezed in his glove for a catch beforehand.
"I'm glad it's this week and not last week," manager Mike Redmond quipped. "I think those plays for the Fish might have set them over the edge."
In the ninth inning on April 18, Giancarlo Stanton's walk-off grand slam against the Mariners came after replay overturned an out at third because of the transfer rule.
On Monday, in a 4-2 loss to the Braves, another challenge by Redmond overturned an out at second base. Miami got the break, but didn't capitalize.
"We had those two plays happen within the last week," Redmond said. "So am I surprised? No, I'm not surprised.
"You're still kind of wondering how it's going to be. It seems like there is still some confusion. We'll see now exactly what a catch is."
Redmond still expects to challenge questionable transfer plays.
"I don't think it's going to affect how we [challenge]," the manager said. "It's in the interpretation. Before, when we saw that play throughout baseball, we saw the transfer play was going to be an issue.
"How do you not go out there and review that play when you see how it is interpreted? So any time that play happens, you have to go out there and review it."
• Ed Lucas (broken left hand) started his rehab assignment on Friday at Class A Jupiter. The plan is to use Lucas at a number of positions during his rehab assignment.
Lucas initially made the Marlins' Opening Day roster as the utility player, but he fractured his left hand after being struck by a pitch on March 27.
• Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) continues his rehab assignment at Double-A Jacksonville. The club will decide, perhaps by Sunday, whether Furcal should continue another week of rehabbing or be called up for the homestand against the Braves, which begins on Tuesday.
• Jacob Turner (right shoulder strain) will make his second rehab-assignment start on Monday, and he is scheduled to throw about 75-80 pitches at Jupiter. It's undecided if that will be Turner's final rehab start.