5/2/2014 11:55 P.M. ET
Ramos not alarmed by decreased velocity
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- When the season heats up, look for A.J. Ramos' velocity to pick up as well.
The Marlins right-hander realizes his fastball is down a bit from a year ago. According to Fangraphs.com, Ramos' velocity is 91.3 mph, compared to 93.3 in 2013.
It's not a reason for concern, Ramos says.
"As the season goes and my arm starts feeling better and I'm able to pitch and throw hard. ... Last year I came in and I was just trying to throw the ball as hard as I could," the right-hander said. "At the end of the season, my velo was down also, and I learned how to pitch. I came in doing the same thing. I know how to use my movement."
There is little disputing the results. Ramos has been Miami's most consistent setup reliever, reflected by his 0.75 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched. He also leads the team in appearances with 14.
Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Ramos projects to lead the club in appearances when the season is over.
The Marlins are looking to solidify the eighth inning, the one in which they've allowed a team-most 20 runs (18 earned). Ramos, Mike Dunn and Carlos Marmol are the primary candidates for the eighth inning in close games.
A closely-knit unit, the bullpen is confident it will make strides as the season progresses.
"We're holding each other accountable," Ramos said. "I think that's the biggest thing. We're going out there and we're seeing what we're doing wrong. We're kind of going up to the guy the next day and saying, 'Maybe you should have done this or this.' We're using everybody to get better. Not criticizing, just holding people accountable. I think that's a big part of it."
Marlins respond to stealing signs speculation
MIAMI -- The Marlins have their own theory as to why they pounded out 23 runs in a three-game sweep over the Braves at Marlins Park.
Prior to Miami's 5-4 win on Thursday, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez discussed wondering whether the Marlins were stealing signs or somehow picking up the pitches. But Gonzalez said, "At the end, we came up with nothing."
"To me, it's kind of laughable," Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "It doesn't affect us. All it says to me is we're going out there swinging the bats. We're swinging the bats well enough where people are going to think we're cheating and getting signs.
"At the end of the year, we'll let all that play out. We're not going to let that affect who we are or what we're doing. We're having a good approach right now. They're leaving balls over the plate, and we're able to do something."
The Marlins are a young team striving to gain respect, and they are used to being the target of jokes and ridicule.
"I think the Marlins have kind of been a punching bag almost for the past few years, because of things that have happened," said Saltalamacchia, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday. "It doesn't bother us, as far as we go. We've got to go out there and control what we can control.
"At the same time, as a player, you kind of sit back and laugh a little bit. From my perspective, I like it. I think they're focusing on the wrong things. For them to focus on what we're doing, and 'Are we stealing signs? Are we doing this?' That means they're not focusing on what they should be focusing on. That kind of gives us an advantage."
Manager Mike Redmond said sign stealing accusations are typically the first thing teams ask after a string of lopsided losses.
"I know when I played we were always changing our signs to make sure," Redmond said. "I know we went out there and played a great series. We got a lot of hits and that was fun to see. For them to be trying to figure out why we were getting so many hits, that's a good thing."
Cishek ready, but four-out saves will be rare
MIAMI -- Don't expect Steve Cishek to make a habit of four-out saves, but if circumstances arise, it could happen again this season.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond rolled the dice in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Braves at Marlins Park. With a runner on third and two outs in the eighth inning, Cishek replaced A.J. Ramos. Cishek ended up logging the rare one-plus inning save. It was a four-out, 20-pitch stint for the Miami right-hander.
"It's not a scenario we want to get into the habit of doing," Redmond said. "But will we do it in a situation where we had an off-day and he hadn't pitched in four days? Sure."
Cishek's last four-out save came on Aug. 26, 2012, at Dodger Stadium. In his career, the Miami closer is 3-for-4 in save chances of more than one inning.
Despite entering in the eighth, Cishek was available for Friday night's series opener against the Dodgers. Because the closer had gone four full days without pitching, Redmond and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez didn't hesitate to see if the right-hander could get the final four outs.
"He's young and strong and he's fresh," Redmond said. "He's probably the freshest guy we've got down there, as far as work."
Cishek has logged just 10 innings all season, which is tied with Carlos Marmol for the fewest among any reliever who has been with the club since Opening Day.
"In seeing Cishek over the last year, this is a guy who gets stronger as he works more and more and more," Redmond said. "I'm not afraid to go out there and let him pitch multiple days in a row."
Marlins send reliever Jennings to Triple-A
MIAMI -- To make roster space for Jacob Turner, the Marlins on Friday night optioned lefty reliever Dan Jennings to Triple-A New Orleans.
Turner is being reinstated from the disabled list, and the right-hander will start against the Dodgers on Saturday night.
Jennings appeared in 10 games and posted a 1.74 ERA, with eight strikeouts and four walks in 10 1/3 innings.
"It's one of those tough decisions that you've got to make," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's going to be fine. He will go down there and pitch, and we know he has value to us. It's a tough decision."
Turner went on the DL on April 9, retroactive to April 4, due to a right shoulder sprain.
• Rafael Furcal started his rehab assignment with Double-A Jacksonville on Friday night. The plan is for the 36-year-old second baseman to play nine innings, and then play again on Saturday. Furcal is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, but more recently he is recovering from a strained right groin.