Although the closer’s job is no longer his, Steve Cishek was glad just to be back in a Marlins uniform after spending the previous 12 days in the minors trying to iron out the kinks that brought about his downfall earlier in the season.
“I want to get back on track and be able to be my old self,” Cishek said Saturday after being recalled from Double A Jacksonville.
Cishek lost the closer’s job to A.J. Ramos after blowing four save opportunities early on. He appeared in five games totaling six innings for Jacksonville. He didn’t allow any runs, struck out four and walked none during the brief makeover.
“I think it was good for me, for sure,” Cishek said of the demotion.
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Manager Dan Jennings said he intended to use Cishek in a setup role, though not necessarily in low-pressure situations.
“Right now, we’ll use him as a bridge to get to A.J. in some capacity, between the sixth and the ninth [innings],” Jennings said. “We’ll use him to get some of the last 12 outs of the game, and those 12 can be the toughest. There will be no mind-set of low pressure. We’ll put him in there when we feel it’s the best fit for him and for us.”
First-round draft pick Josh Naylor wowed everyone from owner Jeffrey Loria to Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez when he showed off his home-run power during Saturday’s batting practice at Marlins Park. The 17-year-old Naylor, who was the 12th overall pick in last week’s amateur draft, launched five homers into the upper deck in right field at Marlins Park during the session.
At one point, Gonzalez walked over to Naylor and told him jokingly to “stop hitting the ball so hard.”
“I had a great time,” said Naylor, who was invited to take part in batting practice with the Marlins. “My heart rate was going a little bit. I was a little nervous. I feel so special, and hopefully I’m in this park one day permanently.”
That’s what the Marlins are hoping, as well.
Naylor, a first baseman who is often compared to Prince Fielder because of his similar body size and build, can’t sign until after he graduates from high school on June 25, three days after he turns 18. But the Marlins think Naylor will climb through the minors more rapidly than most players because of his extensive seasoning in international competition.
“I hear that when we see this young man take batting practice we may want to insert him [in the lineup],” Jennings said before Naylor took his swings. “Once he gets in that uniform, he blends right in with these guys. He may hurt some of their feelings when they see him swing that bat a little bit.”
After turning in a strong rehab outing Friday for Single A Jupiter, Jose Fernandez’s next step could come at Double A when he makes his next start Wednesday.
“It’ll either be Double A or Jupiter [again],” Jennings said. “[He] probably needs to go somewhere and get tested against a little higher level of hitters, although he went straight from A ball to the major leagues and did pretty well.”
The Marlins expect Fernandez to make his first start for them in either late June or early July. On Friday, Fernandez delivered five scoreless innings for Jupiter in which he allowed only two hits and struck out four.
“Everything is trending now the right way for him to get back on that mound up here and help us,” Jennings said. “It’ll be a welcome addition when that occurs.”
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (6-2, 3.12 ERA) vs. Colorado Rockies LHP Jorge de la Rosa (3-2, 5.53), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (4-4, 4.13) vs. New York Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-1, 2.48), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.