Marlins Notebook

Miami Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez impressive in debut

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

Henderson Alvarez said he can’t wait to wear the name of his country — Venezuela — on the front of his uniform when he plays in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Sunday, the Marlins’ new pitcher stepped foot on a game mound for the first time wearing a “Miami” uniform.

And he provided some promising results in his spring debut for his new major-league team.

Alvarez held the Washington Nationals to only one hit over two innings in a game that was called by mutual agreement after the 10th inning with the score tied 2-2.

Most impressive of all?

He didn’t mess around. Of his 22 pitches, 19 were for strikes.

“Sometimes, your first outing, you’re amped up, a little nervous,” manager Mike Redmond said. “But I thought he was, for a young guy, completely under control.

“Obviously, the numbers spoke for themselves with the number of strikes he threw.”

The Marlins acquired Alvarez in their 12-player trade with Toronto, and the right-hander is expected to fill the fourth spot in the rotation.

“All my pitches fell in the strike zone,” Alvarez said of Sunday’s outing.

“My plan was to go out there on the field, get my pitches in the zone, and have the batters swing.”

Alvarez will make one more spring start for the Marlins before joining Team Venezuela for the WBC, which takes place next month.

Search for catcher

The Marlins have “begun the process” of looking for catching help outside the organization in the aftermath of Saturday’s injury to Jeff Mathis, according to a team source.

But, given that the start of the season is still five weeks off, they’re in no great hurry to pull the trigger on a deal.

And the team could decide to go with Kyle Skipworth as the primary backup to Rob Brantly.

Other than Mathis and Brantly, the Marlins have no catchers with big-league experience in the organization, and Brantly has appeared in only 31 major-league games.

The Marlins could wait for other teams to trim rosters later in spring training and look for the best available catcher from the pile of discards.

The Colorado Rockies are one team with an abundance of experienced catchers, including Yorvit Torrealba, Ramon Hernandez and Wilin Rosario.

Mathis is expected to miss anywhere from six weeks to two months after his right collarbone was broken Saturday on a foul tip.

• First baseman Casey Kotchman tested his injured finger Sunday with a couple of at-bats in a simulated game in Jupiter, Redmond said.

Kotchman, who received four stitches on his left ring finger when he sliced it open during a drill last week, could be ready to play in the next couple of days.

• Redmond said reliever Jose Ceda, who had Tommy John surgery last year, pitched in the simulated game.

COMING UP

•  Monday: Marlins LHP Wade LeBlanc (2-5, 3.67 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57), 1:05 p.m., Lake Buena Vista.

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (12-13, 4.48) vs. New York Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-2, 5.63), 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.

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