With an eight-man pitching lineup set for the team’s spring training opener Saturday against the Cardinals, Mike Redmond said he and his staff were going to get together after practice Tuesday and would figure out by Wednesday when the other 30 pitchers in camp would make their own debuts.
“You’re going to see them all,” Redmond said, cracking a smile. “Don’t worry.”
Dominican-born left-hander Braulio Lara, a 23-year-old with a fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph, isn’t sure when he’ll pitch for the Marlins yet. But he knows when he does, all eyes will be on him like they were Tuesday.
Scooped up in December from the pitching-rich Rays in the second round of the Rule V draft, Lara had general manager Mike Hill, Redmond and a few other Marlins assistants watching him pitch batting practice closely from behind the cage Tuesday.
Just like Marlins brass said in December, the key for Lara will be showing he can control his arsenal — fastball, curveball and change-up — and consistently throw strikes. If he does, he could end up filling one of three potential open vacancies in the bullpen.
“We’ll be watching intently when he steps on the mound to see how he competes and see if he’s an option for us in the pen,” Hill said. “We want to see strikes and we want to see outs. [Velocity] is not as important as strikes and outs. Hopefully, he can command the strike zone and get people out.”
Lara, who has never pitched above the High A level, started 70 of the 93 games he pitched in over the past five seasons in the Rays’ system, going 24-30 with a 4.41 ERA, 348 strikeouts and 180 walks. He was 6-10 with a 5.71 ERA in 112 innings for Class A Charlotte last season.
As a minor-league manager in the Blue Jays’ system, Redmond said he got to see Lara closely over the past two seasons. “It’s not too often you see a lefty with a 95 mph fastball,” Redmond said.
Hill said the Marlins aren’t looking for him to just be a left-handed specialist. “His stuff is good enough to be better than that,” Hill said.
Lara (6-1, 180) said he’s simply happy the Marlins are giving him a chance to make a major-league roster. In Tampa, where starting pitching runs in abundance, Lara was sitting behind a lot of other great arms.
“They say I have a good chance to make the team,” he said. “I just have to throw strikes, and I’ll have a chance.”
Logan Morrison was given the green light Tuesday by his doctor to begin running on a treadmill. Morrison’s agent told The Miami Herald that without any setbacks the 25-year-old first baseman should be game-ready by April 15.
“This is exactly what we wanted to hear,” Fred Wray said. “The way he’s progressing, at the rate he’s progressing, that looks like it’s going to be the target date — assuming that’s what the Marlins want to do.”
Morrison, who hit .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBI last season in just 93 games, took a flight to Vail, Colo., on Tuesday to visit withDr. Richard Steadman, five months after having a second surgery on his right knee to repair a torn patellar tendon.
“Baby step, but I’ll take it,” Morrison tweeted. “Never thought I was going to be this excited.”