Craig Breslow didn’t make much of a mark when he was working out of the Marlins’ bullpen earlier in the season.
But the Marlins might want to thank him for making a positive impact on young reliever Brian Ellington.
Ellington, who was called up Sunday from Triple A New Orleans, credited Breslow for helping him turn a corner. It is no coincidence that immediately after Breslow was demoted to the minors on May 16, Ellington became a new pitcher — erasing walks and getting outs.
“Craig Breslow actually helped me a lot,” Ellington said.
“He was very open to helping me out. It speaks volumes of him as a person and as a player, and I told him how much I appreciated and how much I respected him. I thanked him a lot.”
Ellington was a dark-horse candidate in spring training to win an Opening Day roster spot with the Marlins.
But he struggled with wildness and the problem continued in New Orleans, where he walked 18 batters in his first 15 relief innings.
“Coming into spring training, I complicated some things more than they needed to be,” Ellington said.
“It was a headache for a little while, and I had to go through some trials and tribulations.”
Beginning on May 19, just days after Breslow joined the Zephyrs and began mentoring the 25-year-old native of Gainesville, Ellington improved overnight.
In his six appearances since then, Ellington has totaled eight innings without issuing a walk while striking out 13.
Breslow’s advice: “Be as simple as you can. Don’t try to do anything more. Don’t be anybody else but yourself.”
To make room for Ellington, the Marlins optioned Cody Hall to Triple A.
Slumping slugger Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t in Sunday’s lineup.
But it was more by design than a mental break to help get his bat going.
Manager Don Mattingly said Sunday’s day off was planned in advance by the training staff to make sure Stanton is healthy.
Stanton, who is hitting just .202, missed time last week with side soreness.
“We felt like this was the day we wanted to get him out of [the lineup],” Mattingly said.
“This gives him two days’ [rest, with Monday’s off day] to make sure we’re over the physical.”
worth the wait
It took him 203 at-bats, but third baseman Martin Prado finally hit his first home run of the season on Saturday.
“Weird, right?” Prado said. “I got no power, bro. No pop.”
Prado has been fairly steady over the course of his career, usually hitting 10 to 15 homers per year.
But though he’s hit for average this season (.309 entering Sunday), the long ball had eluded him.
That’s why when Prado finally put one over the fence on Saturday, his teammates gave him the silent treatment in the dugout.
“I got the powder treatment, too,” Prado said.
“Protein powder. When I got to the dugout, they covered me with protein powder. They all think I need to take protein because I have no power.”
▪ Monday: Off day.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (3-3, 3.72 ERA) at Minnesota Twins LHP Pat Dean (1-2, 4.15), 8:10 p.m., Target Field.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-2, 4.25) at Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-4, 4.93), 8:10 p.m., Target Field.