Armed with a fastball that can touch 100-miles per hour, Arquimedes Caminero has always been seen as a pitcher with closer-stuff.
The Marlins have just been waiting for the 6-4, 255-pound Dominican-born right-hander to mature and find the strike zone consistently. After eight years in the Marlins' minor-league system, Caminero, 26, finally got the call-up he had been waiting for Friday.
"It means a lot to me," said Caminero, ranked as the Marlins' 20th-best prospect by MLB.com and who replaced reliever Steven Ames (optioned to Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday) in the Marlins' bullpen.
"I've been working a long time for this."
After having Tommy John surgery in 2011, Caminero went 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and posted 44 strikeouts and 19 walks between Single A Jupiter and Double A Jacksonville for the Marlins in 2012. This season, he was 5-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 42 appearances for Jacksonville, posting 68 strikeouts and 21 walks.
Although he says he doesn't throw as hard as he used to (he said he sits between 96 and 100 miles per hour), Caminero said he feels better and in more control of his fastball.
"I want to get a little bit better with the walks," said Caminero, who also throws a slider and splitter. "[The walk numbers] werenn't very good in April, but it got better. I was working with [Suns pitching coach John] Duffy. Now I feel like I can be here."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said the reason Caminero was called up now and not in September is because the team wanted to give him an extended look. With Steve Cishek cemented in the closer's role and Chad Qualls and Mike Dunn used as setup men, it's likely Caminero will be used in the sixth and seventh innings.
"This is a guy who has an ability to go in there and pick up some strikeouts which is always nice to have if we get into a situation where we need a strikeout or something," Redmond said. " I try to avoid [putting] guys in tough situations. Saying that, it's happened a couple times because of the situation we've been in. Hopefully get him in there as soon as possible, get comfortable and see what he can do."
REDMOND TALKS INSTANT REPLAY
Although he's happy Major League Baseball announced Friday it is expanding its replay system in 2014 and giving managers a tool they've never had to challenge calls (one challenge through the first six innings, and two from the seventh on), Redmond said he has some concerns and questions that need to be answered.
"I think everyone is in favor of getting the calls right. I think the biggest question is always the pace of the play," Redmond said. "There's a lot of times as a manager when I'm sitting down here, I can't see the ball down the right field line. If that's ball is fair and he calls it foul then I'm going to have to rely on somebody coming down and telling me 'Hey that balls fair or that ball's fair.'
"In football it's great because of you have the head phones and [the coordinator] can see 10 replays by the time [the quarterback] goes up there and snaps the ball. Well in baseball it's a little different.
"I'd love to sit here and say I've got a beat on every single play. Well, I just don't. Sometimes it's hard to see. At the same time too these challenges are going to be big because it could decide the outcome of the game. What if you have more than one play in the first six innings go wrong? What if there is a three? What if there is a five? There's just a lot of questions through this process."
DEL ORBE HAS SUCCESSFUL SURGERY
Ramon Del Orbe, the pitcher for Single A Greensboro who was struck in the right temple and fractured his skull after being hit by a line drive earlier in the week, had surgery on Thursday. According to Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott, the "surgery went well."
"Relieved pressure and swelling as well as bleeding," Scott told The Miami Herald in a text message. "No timetable for release yet. ICU for another day. Keeping trainer and [Minor League Latin Coordinator] Bobby Ramos with Ramon. At such time of release, they will all travel back together to Greensboro. Ramon will probably need reconstructive surgery at a later date."