The Marlins did some major tinkering over the first two months of the season: cutting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the end of April and firing manager Mike Redmond midway through May.
On Monday night, they opened the month of June with a 5-1 loss to the visiting Cubs and ended the day by sending former closer Steve Cishek back to the minors to do some tinkering of his own.
“This was an organization decision … to take him out of the spotlight of the major leagues and let him go get mechanically ironed out, so when he does come back in a short time that he’ll be ready to go and ready to help,” manager Dan Jennings said.
“[Steve took it like] a pro. He’s always a pro. He’s upbeat. He’s positive. And he feels like he’s very close to mechanically to getting ironed out to where he can help. We still believe in him and who he is and what he’s done.”
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With Triple A New Orleans out on the West Coast, Jennings said Cishek (1-5, 6.98 ERA, four blown saves) is headed to Double A Jacksonville where the team (20-32) is hoping pitching coordinator Charlie Corbell (Cishek’s minor-league pitching coach) can help him find his groove.
Jennings said Cishek’s velocity, down earlier in the season, was at his usual 91 to 93 mph over the weekend in New York. Jennings said this is simply about Cishek executing pitches better and added, “It’s easier to do that and extend innings down there for him in the minor leagues.”
“There’s just a couple mechanical things that some of our people have looked at, feel like that it is very correctable,” Jennings said. “I think in Steve’s mind he realizes that as well.
“He pitched a great inning for us in Pittsburgh [last week]. He came into a 3-3 game in the seventh inning [Sunday] in New York, threw the ball outstanding. Thought we had a check-swing strike out, and it turned into a base hit. … I don’t see this being a long-term deal. And I think he’ll come back and be the same Steve Cishek that we’ve known in the past.”
Wherever Ryan Tucker is these days he can sleep easy — for now.
He’s still the last Marlins rookie starting pitcher to win his home debut.
Jose Urena, once the proud owner of the Pacific Coast League’s lowest ERA (1.21) and a sterling 4-0 record in Triple A, put in a valiant effort Monday, tossing six innings of three-run ball. But in the end, he still became the sixth Marlins rookie hurler to lose in their debut since Tucker won on June 8, 2008.
Urena lasted only 4 2/3 innings last week in his first career start, giving up 10 his and five earned runs in a 5-1 loss to the Pirates.
On Monday, he gave up four hits and three walks on 103 pitches but struck out four and kept the Marlins in the game.
“I thought it was a big step forward for him,” Jennings said.
“He’s a gutsy kid. He competes, challenges the hitters. He’s going to have a nice future, a nice career.
▪ Cubs starter Jason Hammel struck out a career-high 11 — all swinging — over 6 2/3 innings and gave up his only run to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth inning. Stanton scored the Little League way.
He singled on a screaming line drive to right (it was clocked at 115 mph off the bat), moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and then scored when catcher Miguel Montero’s throw ended up in left field.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Mat Latos (knee) will make his first rehab start since going on the disabled list later this week. Jennings said he’ll likely throw in two rehab assignments before coming off the disabled list.
▪ Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (bruised left shoulder) should be back in the Marlins lineup Tuesday against the Cubs.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 3.76), 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (5-2, 3.03) vs. Cubs LHP Jon Lester (4-3, 3.30), 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park.