Narveson making his case for roster spot

Lefty reliever tosses 3 shutout frames Tuesday

March 29th, 2016

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Adapting to change has never really bothered Chris Narveson, the 34-year-old non-roster invitee who has been ready for pretty much anything all Spring Training.

This week alone, the left-hander has shown his flexibility, not only preparing but also battling the elements. Narveson started on Tuesday and threw three shutout innings in a 1-0 win over the Mets at Tradition Field.

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The outing came after he made the nearly four-hour, round-trip bus ride to Viera on Monday, only to be informed that the game against the Nationals was rained out. Narveson was supposed to start that game.

"He's a guy who knows what he's doing," manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, a guy coming off a couple of years of little [injury] stuff. He got back last year, and he's throwing the ball well."

Narveson is in the mix for Miami's second lefty reliever role. He offers a career 112 games with 65 starts in parts of seven big league seasons.

With the Marlins in 2015, he appeared in 15 games with two starts, and he was 3-1 with a 4.45 ERA.

Narveson also has shown a willingness to go to wherever his best opportunity may be. Two years ago, for instance, he spurned big league offers to pitch a season in Japan.

"It was one of those things where I had plenty of offers here," he said. "It was an opportunity, financially, for myself. At the time, I was engaged to my wife. It was cool. You don't know how many opportunities you'd get to do that. I like to see and experience different types of hitters, in different atmospheres and different games."

Narveson hopes he doesn't have to change continents for his next major opportunity. He'd like for it to be in Miami.

The way he's looked in Spring Training is giving the organization something to think about. A decision likely will be made in the next day or two, since he has an out clause on Thursday.

"They make it tough," Mattingly said. "That's really what you ask for from the beginning of Spring Training. You want everybody to do really well and make it hard on us to make decisions. At that point, you try to make the best ones and hope you're right."

The Marlins have Mike Dunn as their primary lefty setup reliever. Still in camp are lefties Brad Hand, Craig Breslow and Cody Ege.

Narveson and Hand offer different alternatives, because they both have plenty of experience starting. They can throw multiple innings. Hand also threw on Tuesday, logging a clean inning with a strikeout. Ege closed the game with a perfect frame.

"It's one of those things, if you're left-handed, it's a huge asset, especially if it comes down to certain situations, and you've got to get a lefty out," Narveson said.