VIERA -- Getting set for a night game at Space Coast Stadium, former spring training home of the Marlins, where the news of the hour is the optioniong of left-hander Wade LeBlanc to Triple A. LeBlanc had such a terrific spring that manager Ozzie Guillen referred to him at one point as the "Cy Young" of spring training.
So much for that.
The Marlins have obviously decided they were better off stashing LeBlanc in New Orleans for safekeeping until the need arises for starting help. LeBlanc has been used almost exlusively as a starter throughout his career, and he'll continue to be used in that capacity with the Zephyrs. Had the Marlins kept LeBlanc (1.31 ERA with 19 K's in 20 2/3 innings this spring) and used him as a long man, their bullpen would have also contained three left handers.
"We need him to stay ready (as a starter), just in case we need him at any point," said manager Ozzie Guillen. "That makes us feel more comfortable in case something happens up here."
With LeBlanc no longer in the picture, indications are the final bullpen position -- a long relief spot -- will go to journeyman Chad Gaudin, who was impressive in pitching three scoreless on Thursday. In nine games covering 14 1/3 innings, Gaudin has allowed 12 hits (including a pair of home runs), while striking out 11 and walking 6.
A decision still remains between Donnie Murphy and Donovan Solano for the utility infield job.