With right-hander Edward Mujica shelved by a broken right pinky toe, the Marlins called up left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc from Triple A New Orleans Sunday to take his place in the bullpen.
So why not a real reliever instead of the guy who is supposed to be the first option if somebody in the rotation goes down? According to manager Ozzie Guillen, there just weren't a whole lot of intriguing options.
"We got a couple guys hurt," Guillen said. "[Alex] Sanabia's got a rib cage. [There was Chris] Hatcher, but we didn't want to keep doing it to this kid. He's got to stretch out, continue to pitch. We have to develop him and hopefully we get something out of him. LeBlanc was just the guy who was available at [this] particular time. He's going to be a long guy. We hope we don't have to use him."
Actually, bringing up LeBlanc might not be such a bad idea. Chad Gaudin, the team's designated long reliever, had to work overtime in June. He made 10 appearances -- one more than in April and May combined -- and didn't exactly sparkle. He went 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA.
As far as replacing Mujica in his usual setup role, Guillen said his plan is to move everybody up and just use left-handers Mike Dunn and Randy Choate and right-hander Steve Cishek.
Dunn, who had an ERA of 9.58 over 10 1/3 innings in his first two stints with the Marlins this season, hasn't given up a run or a walk in the 5 2/3 innings he's pitched since being recalled on June 21st. Guillen said he's been a pleasant surprise and said the difference for Dunn has simply been control.
"When you throw the ball 94, 95 and throw it where you want it, it's not the same as throwing 95, 96 and it's all over the place," Guillen said. "His location has been great and his breaking ball has been good enough to get away with. He's even thrown it for a few strikeouts.
Dunn said his second trip back down to the minors was when he finally figured out what was wrong.
"The first game I threw 3 1/3 innings and it was kind of a game where I had to mentally conserve myself because I couldn't go out there and blow it all out in one inning like normal," Dunn said. "After that game I realized I was under control. Pitches were a lot better and my velocity was even better than before with one inning. It was almost where less was more. Whereas I was trying to grunt through an inning and trying to overpower guys and pitch to velocity. Now, it's pitching to spots and actually pitching, not throwing. Go to the spot, be loose, be free and whatever comes out I know my stuff will be there."
Dunn spent three weeks in the minors in June and got to see a lot of LeBlanc. He said the 27-year old left-hander, who went 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA for New Orleans in 16 starts, looked just like he did in spring training when the Marlins last saw him.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes, going right at guys," Dunn said. "He's not going to ovepower you or blow you or away, but he knows how to pitch and throw strikes. He's fun to watch. He's like another [Mark] Buehrle really. They go out there and pitch, throw strikes and go right at guys."
> With the All-Star selections set to be announced at 1 p.m. today, most are expecting right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to be the Marlins' lone representative to get picked to go to Kansas City in two weeks.
"I hope he makes it," Guillen said. "If one thing is very bright for us [in the first half], it's him. For me, it's a shame. I looked at this ballclub in December, I said 'Wow we got a few All-Star guys.' Unfortunately they didn't play good enough to get into the All-Star Game."
Guillen said the only other player worthy of All-Star consideration in his mind for the Marlins is second baseman Omar Infante.
> Marlins (37-40): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Greg Dobbs 1B, 7. Omar Infante 2B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Ricky Nolasco RHP.
> Phillies (36-44): 1. Jimmy Rollins SS, 2. Juan Pierre LF, 3. Hunter Pencer RF, 4. Carlos Ruiz C, 5. Shane Victorino CF, 6. Placido Polanco 3B, 7. Ty Wiggington 1B, 8. Mike Fontenot 2B, 9. Joe Blanton RHP.