Marlins surprise Chris Hatcher by calling him back up; transfer Furcal to 60-day DL to make room on 40-man
The Marlins have recalled reliever Chris Hatcher from Triple A New Orleans and transferred second baseman Rafael Furcal to the 60-day disabled list, a corresponding move to make room for Hatcher on the 40-man roster.
Hatcher, 29, was suspended for five games earlier this season for punching and breaking the jaw of teammate and pitcher Sam Dyson. Since serving his suspension in early May, Hatcher has pitched well for the Zephyrs and comes back to the big leagues with a 1-2 record, 2.01 ERA and five saves in 22 1/3 innings of work.
"Pretty shocking -- wasn't expecting it," Hatcher said of being called up. "Having the roster guys down there -- [Arquimedes] Caminero, [Dan] Jennings, [Bryan] Flynn. [Andrew] Heaney is knocking on the door. I was just trying to help that ballclub win and the last thing on my mind was being called up to be quite honest with you."
The Marlins designated Hatcher for assignment right before spring training. Out of options, he simply took the assignment and pitched well this spring, saying he threw the ball with more downward action and that his splitter had improved. Hatcher tossed 10 scoreless innings in nine appearances and picked up two saves in spring training. But when the year started he was down in New Orleans.
Then on April 29th he reportedly broke the jaw of Dyson during a skirmish in a Nashville, Tenn. bar. Hatcher didn't want to talk about the incident on Thursday morning, but did say he "learned from it." He said he and Dyson have spoken. Asked if they've cleared the air, Hatcher said: "For the most part."
"I felt like I've become a better person because of it," Hatcher said of the incident. "Moving forward I know things like that can't happen, which I knew that before. But I put myself in a tough spot professionally and as a person and hope to move forward from it."
Furcal, who began rehab work in Jupiter on Tuesday as he returns from a strained groin and hamstring, has yet to play for the Marlins despite signing a $3.5 million contract for 2014.
Manager Mike Redmond said Thursday's move to the 60-day DL was "just a paper move" because Furcal is eligible for it. His retroactive date is March 21. Redmond said earlier this week Furcal still has a ways to go before he'll begin playing in minor league games.
KOEHLER NOT PUTTING PRESSURE ON HIMSELF
With Jose Fernandez done for the season, the Marlins could use some one to step up and pitch like a No. 1 starter. Tom Koehler isn't volunteering, but his numbers at least suggest he's capable.
According to ESPN's Wins Above Replacement rankings, Koehler ranks ninth among all pitchers in baseball with a 2.0 rating. Koehler, who will start Friday night against the visiting Brewers, is 4-3 with a 2.25 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and arguably worthy of All-Star discussion if he keeps it up.
"Just trying to force some early action and letting the defense play behind me," Koehler explained of his early season success. "If you start putting pressure on yourself thinking about [replacing Fernandez] it's going to force you to do things you're not capable of doing. You can't replace him. So, the key is really to go out there and do what I'm capable of doing and for each of us individually do what they're capable of doing and take it game by game."
WOLF LOOKING FORWARD TO START SUNDAY
Randy Wolf, making his first big league start Sunday since having Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2012 season, believes the one way he can help the Marlins' starting rotation is by showing the rest of the fireballers in it there are other ways you can win.
"Obviously every other guy in the rotation has better stuff than me," Wolf said. "I think the one way I can help is to show that you can succeed at this level without having a 97-mile per hour fastball, and how when you have stuff and you put everything together pitching becomes a lot easier. I think I have a good idea of what to do out there without having a 95 mile per hour fastball."
Wolf, who uses a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, said he threw over 100 pitches multiple times while he was starting in the minors earlier this year. He finished 5-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts for the Triple A Reno Aces.
"As a starting pitcher my strength is throwing my four pitches for strikes any time," Wolf said. "As a bullpen guy when you go in a game you can have two pitches you throw for strikes. If you have three great. Four, amazing. You don't have time to really like find your changeup or slider. You've got to find something that's there and go with it."
> Phillies (20-23): 1. Jimmy Rollins SS, 2. Wil Nieves C, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Cody Asche, 3B, 7. Domonic Brown LF, 8. Ben Revere CF, 9. Cole Hamels LHP.
> Marlins (24-23): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Jeff Baker 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.
The Marlins announced after Wednesday's 14-5 win over the Phillies they are optioning right-hander Anthony DeSclafani back to Triple A New Orleans and starting 37-year old veteran left-hander Randy Wolf on Sunday against the Brewers.
DeSclafani lost his last start Tuesday against the Phillies after winning his opener at Los Angeles.
Wolf, signed after Jose Fernandez was lost for the season, has undergone two Tommy John surgeries himself and hasn't started in the big leagues since he went 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA with the Brewers in 2012.
"It's a role that definitely is contingent upon my performance," said Wolf, who picked up a three-inning save in DeSclafani's first start and has pitched five innings of relief total for the Marlins. "It's exciting to get that opportunity and get out there and pitch. All I can do is prepare and get out there and do my best.
"It's only five innings but I felt pretty good in those five innings. The biggest thing with me is just the physical part of it. I've felt really good physically and kind of feel like I've gotten stronger with each start. I feel like I'm healthy I'll give the team a chance to win."
The Marlins will announce a corresponding move for DeSclafani's spot Thursday.
SALTALAMACCHIA SAYS ANKLE IS FINE
Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia left Wednesday's game after injuring his left ankle running the bases in the eighth inning. But the catcher, who had precautionary x-rays performed after the game, said he feels fine.
"I just jammed it a little bit. Nothing serious," Saltalamacchia said ."It's all [Garrett] Jones' fault for not running. A big 18-wheeler -- you can't stop it on a dime like that.
"I told them it's nothing. It feels fine. I could have finished the game."
Saltalamacchia said the Wednesday's win was big for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who battled through six innings and gave up 10 hits and three runs (one earned).
"It's huge for Nate," Saltalamacchia said. "He's had a couple outings where he's felt really good, but struggled with fastball command. Tonight that was excellent. He had fastball command, downward angle. We were able to get ahead of guys, which made the off-speed stuff get better. I thought he grew a lot tonight, got to see how good he really is."