6/1/2014 4:26 P.M. ET
Catcher Realmuto gets first big league chance
By Joe Frisaro and Maria Torres / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Saturday was bittersweet for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who was called up to fill Jarrod Saltalamacchia's open roster spot.
The Marlins made the move official on Sunday when Saltalamacchia was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Realmuto was recalled from Double-A Jacksonville.
You'd think the prospect of making a big league debut would make anyone giddy. But Realmuto, a native of Del City, Okla., had to watch his hometown Oklahoma City Thunder lose the Western Conference Finals to the San Antonio Spurs in overtime Saturday night.
"That was a bittersweet night for me, getting the call but having to watch the Thunder lose," he said. "I wasn't too happy about that."
But Realmuto has a lot to be happy about. The 23-year-old was hitting .301 with 14 doubles, three triples and five homers for the Suns. He has the sixth-most RBIs (31) in the Southern League and is second in slugging (.503).
"I think we feel like right now, he's the guy who, in the short term, we think he can come up and do a good job," manager Mike Redmond said. "We hope that Salty is just a short-term deal, but you never know with a concussion. So right now J.T. is a good fit. He's playing well, he's swinging the bat extremely well and we're glad to have him."
In the same league last year, Realmuto carried a .239/.310/.353 slash line across 106 games. In high school, Realmuto played shortstop, and he converted to catcher after being drafted by the Marlins in the third round in 2010.
"Last year, after my first game or two, I was hitting really well power-wise, so after that, I tried to do too much and tried to hit the ball over the fence," Realmuto said. "When you try to do that, it is not going to happen as often as you want. Now that catching is coming a little more naturally to me, I can focus a little bit more back on my hitting."
Realmuto didn't crack the Top 25 in any statistical category in 2013. But now that he's coming into his own, he has been battling Cubs top prospect Kris Bryant all season for the top slugging spot in the Southern League. Bryant was the No. 2 overall pick in last year's Draft.
"That guy is impressive. We haven't got to play him yet," Realmuto said. "We're actually going to play him next week. I heard he's putting up some impressive numbers."
Marlins give up Draft pick for reliever Morris
MIAMI -- The first piece of the Marlins' 2014 First-Year Player Draft will join the team on Monday.
Miami announced the acquisition of reliever Bryan Morris from the Pirates on Sunday morning for the 39th overall pick in Thursday's Draft.
The selection is a Competitive Balance Round A pick that the Marlins basically received for finishing 62-100 in 2013.
To make 40-man roster room for Morris, Jose Fernandez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Fernandez is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-May.
After the Marlins lost, 4-2, to the Braves on Sunday, reliever Arquimedes Caminero was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. That cleared a spot on the 25-man roster for Morris, who is expected to arrive on Monday in time for the series opener with the Rays.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said the trade was to provide immediate help to a club that has remained in contention in the National League East.
"I don't think we're finished in trying to improve our club," Hill said. "We're still trying to make as many improvements as we think we can to help this team. This is the first piece, in bringing Morris aboard."
Morris, 27, is a controllable player in terms of service time for Miami. He has yet to reach arbitration. He opened the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
The right-hander has appeared in 21 games with the Pirates, posting a 4-0 record with a 3.80 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings.
In parts of two big league seasons, he is 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 81 career games, with 57 strikeouts to 42 walks, and a .250 average against.
"I'm excited," manager Mike Redmond said. "We definitely need another arm down there."
The bullpen took a hit when Carter Capps went down with a right elbow sprain. Capps is getting a second opinion on Wednesday from Dr. James Andrews, and Tommy John surgery is a possibility.
"Losing Capps has been tough," Redmond said. "There's no doubt that we struggle down there in the bullpen. We felt like [Morris] was the guy that will help us. Hopefully he will be able to go out there and log some innings for us.
"I know Pittsburgh has a deep bullpen, so this is probably a huge opportunity for him to get out of a deep bullpen and get to a bullpen where we can really use him."
The Marlins had the flexibility to make the trade because the team had four of the first 43 picks in the Draft. Miami holds the Nos. 2 and 36 picks also.
Only Competitive Balance picks can be traded, and there are 12 total. The slot allotted for the No. 39 pick is $1,457,600.
"For clubs that don't have multiple picks, clubs who just have one pick per round, it was attractive," Hill said. "We tried to take advantage of that, if there was something out there that made sense for us. We had a need. It was in our bullpen. We were looking for the piece that was the right fit for us in terms of controlling, not just short-term, but long-term, and he had the stuff to help our club as well."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.