BALTIMORE -- When Jacksonville Suns pitching coach John Duffy told Alex Sanabia Sunday he was being called up to the show, the 21-year old right-hander had nearly the same reaction he had when he was drafted by the Marlins in the 32nd round in 2006: He couldn't believe it.
"My jaw dropped to the ground," said Sanabia, who a year ago was 9-5 with a 3.45 ERA for Single A Jupiter. "I wasn't expecting it. I was just going day by day and next thing you know they let me know. It was awesome."
The Marlins aren't necessarily looking for Sanabia or fellow newcomer James Houser to be awesome. They just want them to do what they were doing in the minors -- throw strikes.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez, who watched his bullpen walk 11 in a loss Saturday, said Sanabia (5-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 14 starts for Double A Jacksonville this season) will likely be used in a long relief role. Houser, a left-hander with a submarine delivery who was 0-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 11 relief appearances for Triple A New Orleans, will be used as a situation lefty.
Both pitchers, the 16th and 17th relievers for the Marlins this season, kept themselves busy Tuesday meeting their new teammates. Houser, who was in the Rays system until last season, said he hasn't been a submarine pitcher for very long. "I've been playing with it for a couple years," Houser said. "Last year I did it part time. This year I'm doing it full time. Xavier Hernandez, my pitching coach in Durham, saw me last year when I was throwing it in the pen. It was just something I thought could be a little nitch for myself."
Marlins Baseball President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said the Marlins will "ease Sanabia in." "We're not going to throw him right into the fire," Beinfest said. "We'll try to stay away from back to back [outings], which is important. He's a strike thrower, which is important given the way we've been challenged out there throwing strikes. He's a winner and a good kid, we like his stuff and we'll give him a shot."