The last thing Chris Hatcher was expecting was to get was a call-up back to the big leagues. But the Marlins rang his bell Wednesday night after sending right-hander Anthony DeSclafani back to Triple A New Orleans.
Hatcher, 29, was suspended for five games earlier this season for punching New Orleans teammate and pitcher Sam Dyson. Since serving his suspension in early May, Hatcher had pitched well for the Zephyrs, posting a 1-2 record, 2.01 ERA and five saves in 22 1/3 innings of work.
“Pretty shocking,” Hatcher said of being called up. “Especially having the [40-man] roster guys down there — [ Arquimedes] Caminero, [ Dan] Jennings, [ Bryan] Flynn. [ Andrew] Heaney is knocking on the door. I was just trying to help that ballclub win, and the last thing on my mind was being called up, to be quite honest with you.”
The Marlins transferred second baseman Rafael Furcal to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Hatcher on the 40-man roster.
Right before spring training the Marlins designated Hatcher for assignment. Out of options, he simply took the assignment and pitched well this spring, saying he threw the ball with more downward action and that his splitter had improved. Hatcher tossed 10 scoreless innings in nine appearances and picked up two saves in spring training. But when the year started, he was down in New Orleans.
Then on April 29 he reportedly broke the jaw of Dyson during a skirmish in a Nashville, bar. Hatcher didn’t want to talk about the incident on Thursday morning but did say he “learned from it.”
He said he and Dyson have spoken. Asked if they’ve cleared the air, Hatcher said: “For the most part.”
“I felt like I’ve become a better person because of it,” Hatcher said of the incident. “Moving forward I know things like that can’t happen, which I knew that before. But I put myself in a tough spot professionally and as a person and hope to move forward from it.”
• Manager Mike Redmond said Thursday’s move to the 60-day DL was “just a paper move” because Furcal is eligible for it. His retroactive date is March 21. Redmond said earlier this week Furcal, rehabbing in Single A Jupiter, still has a ways to go before he’ll begin playing in minor league games.
With Jose Fernandez done for the season, the Marlins could use someone to step up and pitch like a No. 1 starter. Tom Koehler isn’t volunteering, but his numbers at least suggest he’s capable.
According to ESPN’s Wins Above Replacement rankings, Koehler ranks ninth among all pitchers in baseball with a 2.0 rating. Koehler, who will start Friday night against the visiting Brewers, is 4-3 with a 2.25 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and arguably worthy of All-Star discussion if he keeps it up.
“Just trying to force some early action and letting the defense play behind me,” Koehler explained of his early season success. “If you start putting pressure on yourself thinking about [replacing Fernandez] it’s going to force you to do things you’re not capable of doing. You can’t replace him.”
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, who will make his first big-league start Sunday since having Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2012 season, believes the one way he can help the Marlins’ starting rotation is by showing the rest of the fireballers in it that there are other ways you can win.
“Obviously every other guy in the rotation has better stuff than me,” Wolf said. “I think the one way I can help is to show that you can succeed at this level without having a 97-mph fastball, and how when you have stuff and you put everything together, pitching becomes a lot easier. I think I have a good idea of what to do out there without having a 95-mph fastball.”
Wolf, who uses a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, said he threw more than 100 pitches multiple times while he was starting in the minors earlier this year. So he can go deep. He finished 5-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts for the Triple A Reno (Nevada) Aces.
“As a starting pitcher my strength is throwing my four pitches for strikes any time,” Wolf said. “As a bullpen guy when you go in a game, you can have two pitches you throw for strikes. If you have three, great. Four, amazing. You don’t have time to really like find your changeup or slider. You’ve got to find something that’s there and go with it.”
• Friday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (4-3, 2.25 ERA) vs. Milwaukee Brewers RHP Marco Estrada (3-2, 3.64), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (0-2, 6.59) vs. Brewers RHP Wily Peralta (4-3, 2.18), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Sunday: Marlins LHP Randy Wolf (0-0, 1.80) vs. Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-3, 3.51), 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park