5/24/2014 3:57 P.M. ET
Seeking versatility, Marlins extend relievers
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- There has been an organizational shift in the Marlins' development of Minor League relievers.
Bullpen arms were told early in the season to be ready to pitch at any time and prepare themselves to throw more than one inning.
Chris Hatcher, for instance, threw three innings against Colorado Springs in his latest relief stint at Triple-A New Orleans before he was brought up to the big leagues.
The purpose is to build each reliever up, and by working more than one inning they will be forced to pitch in more situations.
"Organizationally we talked about the development of our pitchers and our relievers," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Really, if we're going to get these guys better, it's hard to get better throwing one inning. I think what we've tried to do is stretch these guys out and get them multiple innings."
If a reliever throws two or even three innings, he will get a couple of days off, and the next option will be used in a similar capacity.
Also, relievers at the developmental levels don't settle in assuming they have a set role. Hatcher, for instance, has closed at Triple-A. But on the Marlins, Steve Cishek is a proven closer. Hatcher's role will be middle-innings relief.
On Friday night, Hatcher threw two scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts in Miami's 9-5 loss to Milwaukee.
"When they come to the big leagues, they're more prepared for 35 to 45 pitches and multiple innings at a time and give us more flexibility," Redmond said. "I think it's great for all our pitchers to get extended out, and that helps in their development, because let's face it, the more pitches you throw the better chance you're going to have to work on your pitches and the off-speed pitches.
"If you go out there [for] only one inning and a few pitches, there's probably not a whole lot of development there. I think that's kind of been the thinking."
As Marlins seek middle relief, Hand sent to DL
MIAMI -- At a time the Marlins are looking for middle relievers to step up, one candidate is being shut down for at least a few weeks.
Brad Hand on Saturday afternoon was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and lefty reliever Dan Jennings was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to round out the roster.
"Brad has a right ankle sprain," manager Mike Redmond said. "I guess he tweaked it on a pitch."
Hand's injury came at a time in which the 24-year-old had been struggling.
In 16 appearances, the lefty was 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA (17 earned runs in 24 innings). He has a live arm and boasts a mid-90s fastball. In 24 innings, he has 20 strikeouts and 16 walks.
In his past 10 2/3 innings, he has given up nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.
Hand, who is out of options, gave up two runs in two innings, including a home run to Khris Davis, on Friday in Miami's 9-5 loss to the Brewers.
"I feel like a broken record sometimes talking about our pitching and guys pounding the strike zone," Redmond said. "There really is some opportunity for some guys to solidify roles. We all talk about roles. Everybody wants a role. There are opportunities out there for guys to solidify their spots in that bullpen to get consistent reps."
Jennings falls into that category. He has also had his ups and downs at the big league and Triple-A levels.
With the Marlins, Jennings is 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 1/3 innings, including 14 hits allowed. Opponents are batting .304 against him, and he has struck out nine and walked four.
At Triple-A New Orleans, Jennings posted a 4.50 ERA in five outings. Jennings, who made the Opening Day roster, also has six strikeouts and six walks in six innings in Triple-A.
Miami's bullpen ERA entering Saturday was 3.96, which ranked 20th in the Majors.
Stars align for seven moon shots at Marlins Park
MIAMI -- Marlins Park had a Coors Field-like moment on Friday night.
The Marlins and the Brewers combined for a ballpark-record seven homers in the series opener, won, 9-5, by Milwaukee.
Miami belted four homers, with Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones each delivering two solo shots. Mark Reynolds of the Brewers added two home runs, and Khris Davis hit another.
How much of the homer-happy night was attributed to the roof being open?
It's hard to say, because all seven shots would most likely have been out of any field. But still, the conditions seemed conducive to the ball traveling.
"It was pretty dead, wind-wise," Stanton said. "Every fly ball was to the fence, pretty much, for them. It was definitely flying way better than with the roof closed."
ESPN Stats & Info estimated Stanton's two shots at 463 feet and 444 feet. The distance of the slugger's first shot was readjusted by EPSN on Saturday after it was initially listed at 440 feet. Jones found the second deck in right field with a shot estimated at 431 feet, and his second drive was 374 feet.
Marlins Park, though, with its spacious gaps and high walls, can be a "no homer zone" on any given night.
"I think those balls that were hit would have been out of any ballpark," manager Mike Redmond said. "Some of those balls were crushed. It was a beautiful night, as far as temperature-wise and everything. The ball seemed to be carrying more than I've seen it."
Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler, who gave up the two blasts by Reynolds, noted that both came on mistake pitches.
"I think the ball does carry more when the roof is open," Koehler said. "I looked at some of those pitches. Like I said, we made a lot of mistakes in the zone."
The Marlins have an improved lineup, so by talent alone they are hitting more homers than a year ago.
In 2013, the Marlins finished last in the Majors with 95 homers, with a mere 36 at Marlins Park.
Friday night's total put them at 27 homers in their first 26 home games this year. In all, 48 home runs have been hit in Miami this year, which ranks eighth among Major League parks.
Last year, in 81 games at Marlins Park, 84 home runs were hit.
"Those guys hit some pitches that were middle of the plate, and they squared them up," Jones said. "Roof open, roof closed, I don't really think really made a factor on those balls."