Marlins manager Don Mattingly gave strong indication on Saturday that Kyle Barraclough would be his preference to take over as closer if and when A.J. Ramos is traded.
“Claw would be easy to put there for me,” said Mattingly, using Barraclough’s nickname. “Out of our guys who’ve had success, I think Claw’s that guy.”
The Marlins are actively shopping Ramos in advance of the July 31 trade deadline and a handful of teams have been in contact to discuss a deal.
Barraclough closed in the Cardinals’ farm system before the Marlins acquired him in their 2015 trade with St. Louis for Steve Cishek. He totaled 25 saves in 2014 and ’15.
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Mattingly also mentioned veteran Brad Ziegler as a possibility for the ninth inning. But Ziegler, who has extensive closing experience in the majors, remains on the disabled list with a lower-back strain.
“You’re asking about the profile of that guy, [and] I think Claw fits it for us,” Mattingly said. “He’s swing and miss against righties and lefties. He’s gotten better with the running game, so it’s not like you’re afraid if a guy gets on that they’re going to steal you blind.”
Barraclough has gone 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA in 45 relief appearances this season. He continues to struggle with control, as evidenced by his 30 walks in 44 1/3 innings. And his strikeout rate has declined from a staggering 14 whiffs per nine innings last season to 9.9 this season.
But Mattingly like what he’s seen from the power right-hander.
“He’s really competitive,” Mattingly said. “He’s durable. [I’d] probably be able to protect him more in that [closer’s] spot than I could in the seventh or eighth.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ If not for a broken thumb that landed him on the disabled list for 2 1/2 months earlier this season, Dillon Peters might already be in the Marlins’ rotation. As it is, Peters is working his way back and looms as a logical candidate for a call-up in September — if not sooner.
Peters worked six scoreless innings on Friday for Single A Jupiter and is looking every bit as sharp now as he did before the injury. Since his return, Peters has allowed just one run on eight hits over 17 1/3 total innings. He has struck out 15 batters against eight walks. Peters’ next stop could be Double A Jacksonville, where he began the season.
▪ David Phelps joined the Seattle Mariners on Friday, one day after being traded by the Marlins, and said he was happy to be pitching for a contender. The Mariners are on the fringe of wild-card contention in the American League.
“I’m excited. I really am,” the reliever told reporters. “It’s meaningful baseball again.”
▪ Jose Urena not only turned in a winning pitching effort on Friday night in the Marlins’ 3-1 victory over the Reds, he also delivered his first career extra-base hit — a double — using one of Marcell Ozuna’s bats. Urena borrowed one of Ozuna’s bats after he broke his own.
“That was a lucky shot,” Urena said, laughing.
Ozuna was more than happy to allow Urena the use of his bat. After all, Ozuna has done a bit of borrowing himself this season, hitting home runs with bats he borrowed from Ichiro Suzuki and Giancarlo Stanton.
“He was screaming, ‘Hit a homer! Hit a homer!’ ” Urena said. “He was excited.”
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (1-4, 7.92 ERA) at Cincinnati Reds RHP Sal Romano (1-2, 7.50), 1:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park.
▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (2-3, 6.75) at Texas Rangers LHP Martin Perez (5-7, 4.72), 8:05 p.m., Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas.