Marlins reliever Fernando Rodney spent the early part of the season on the same pitching staff as Andrew Cashner.
He’s glad they’re back on the same team again.
“This guy, he wants to win,” Rodney said.
The headliner of a seven-player trade between the Marlins and Padres on Friday, Cashner’s first opportunity is Sunday, the final game of the Marlins’ 10-game homestand.
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In his three starts prior to being acquired by the Marlins, Cashner looked like the quality pitcher the Marlins have been yearning to add to their starting rotation.
He gave up just five runs over 17 2/3 innings (2.55 ERA) and struck out 23 batters while only walking three.
“We wanted to get someone who was hot and bring in someone who would bring immediate impact and success and help us win ballgames,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.
Cashner has five pitches in his arsenal that he can throw for strikes, but the 29-year-old righty and former first-round pick of the Cubs relies mostly on his fastball and slider when he needs to get the job done. At peak velocity, his fastball has touched 98 miles per hour this season.
“We’ve seen him when he was really good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s a guy with power stuff, and in our minds with what we saw, he was their No. 1.”
With the Marlins in the thick of the wild-card race and just six games behind the Nationals in the NL East heading into Saturday’s action, Cashner’s production could be a deciding factor down the stretch.
“They’re trying to put everything together and see if we can play well like we’ve been doing,” Rodney said. “I hope we try to win the division because I don’t like wild cards. It’s good sometimes, but it’s one game.”
Martin Prado had just two home runs this season heading into the All-Star break.
With a couple slight adjustments, he’s found some power.
Prado has three home runs over the first 15 games since the break, including homers in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday.
With a .327 batting average heading into Saturday night, Prado is also in the thick of the National League batting race, trailing only Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (.352) and Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos (.332).
“Martin has been locked in all year,” Mattingly said.
“He’s swung the bat well, but now all of a sudden he hits [a home run] in Philly. He hits a couple here. He’s kind of showing some power, which kind of changes his dimension in a sense where he’s a little more dangerous in the way that you have to pitch to him.”
Mattingly said there have not been any setbacks with starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen’s rehab since he was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a left elbow sprain.
But he is not expected to be back with the team in the immediate future.
“I’m sure he’s going to start throwing again [soon],” Mattingly said. “If he sits too long, that’s going to make the process longer.”
Chen will not travel with the Marlins this week during their road trip against the Cubs and Rockies, Mattingly said.
▪ The Marlins optioned right-hander Jose Urena to Triple A New Orleans and recalled reliever Brian Ellington from New Orleans.
Urena is coming off the worst start of his career, giving up eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in Friday night’s 11-6 loss to the Cardinals.
Ellington had 10 appearances with the Marlins earlier this season, giving up just two runs (one earned) in 11 1/3 innings, good for a 0.79 ERA.
▪ The Marlins also announced that they outrighted infielder Don Kelly to New Orleans two days after he was designated for assignment.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Cashner (4-7, 4.76 ERA) vs. St. Louis Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (10-6, 2.87), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-8, 4.18) at Chicago Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (9-7, 2.39), 8:05 p.m., Wrigley Field.