Ricky Nolasco cleaned out his locker and said his goodbyes in the Marlins clubhouse Sunday morning.
The Marlins traded Nolasco to the Dodgers late Saturday night for minor-league pitchers Angel Sanchez, Steven Ames and Josh Wall.
“I'm going to miss these guys here more than I can say,” said Nolasco, who flew to Arizona Sunday to join the Dodgers for a key series that begins Monday against the Diamondbacks. “But they understand it is a business, and I'll see them in August. I made a lot of lifelong friends here. I'm never going to forget that.”
Although Nolasco felt bittersweet departing after eight seasons with the Marlins, he said he was excited to be able to pitch for his favorite team that he said he’d go watch in person around 15 times a year with his dad and brothers growing up.
“The phone has been non-stop,” Nolasco said. “Obviously, I've never dealt with anything like that to where the phone was just blowing up. Everybody is just excited, everybody from back home. Even people who don't have my number, on Twitter and stuff, obviously where I grew up, they're all excited to see this happen. It's just an exciting time.”
Nolasco’s teammates wished him well and were happy he ended up in a good situation with the trade.
“He’s going to the perfect spot for him,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “To be able to go to where you want without having a choice is always a little extra bonus. It won’t be a tough transition for him.”
Nolasco, who went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts for the Marlins, doesn’t know when he will make his first start for the Dodgers, but it could come during a key series with the Diamondbacks – the team they trail by 4½ games in the National League West.
“Obviously we’ll miss Ricky and what he brought to this team, and the leadership he brought to this team, but at the same time, too, we all kind of knew this was going to happen,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It’s good for Ricky that he’s going to go play for a good team, and a place where he wants to go. We wish him all the best.”
Nolasco’s trade meant Kevin Slowey’s return to the rotation for the time being. Slowey will start Monday in what would have been Nolasco’s spot against the Braves.
“[Redmond] talked to me about it yesterday,” Slowey said. “He knows the importance of preparation. I don’t think I’ll know until tomorrow but I’ll be as ready as I can be and the preparation will be there. It will be up to me to go and execute and do my best.”
Ames and Wall were assigned to New Orleans and Sanchez, the only starter of the group, was sent to Single-A Jupiter.
Slowey will likely remain the fifth starter in the rotation until at least the All-Star break. Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said Saturday the team will use the second half to evaluate several potential starters including Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.70 ERA in 69 innings – 10 starts this season), who was recently sent to Triple-A to clear room for Henderson Alvarez, and prospects right-handers Anthony DeSclafani, Sam Dyson and lefties Adam Conley and Brian Flynn.
The Marlins also recalled pitcher Chris Hatcher from Triple-A New Orleans and transferred infielder Chris Valaika to the 60-day disabled list.
Marlins (32-54): Pierre lf, Lucas 3b, Stanton rf, Morrison 1b, Ozuna cf, Dietrich 2b, Hechavarria ss, Mathis c, Fernandez p
Cardinals (52-34): Caprenter 2b, Beltran rf, Holliday lf, Craig 1b, Freese 3b, Jay cf, Cruz c, Kozma ss, Lynn p