Not 'a vet,' Luzardo brings new approach to 7th Spring Training

February 25th, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins left-hander is entering his sixth big league season in 2024, but don’t call him a veteran.

“I don't like using that term,” Luzardo said. “I wouldn't say I'm a vet, just more of -- I've been around enough to know what I need to do. But at the same time, I feel like nothing is given at this point, especially on this team. You always want to go and prove your worth and show what you’ve got. I don't take it lightly, the responsibility that we're given, and I think that every time out there is important for us to go and show what we’ve got to do.”

When ace Sandy Alcantara went down with an elbow injury last September, Luzardo stepped up and helped the club reach the postseason. With Alcantara out in 2024 due to Tommy John surgery, Luzardo is the presumptive Opening Day starter.

Luzardo tossed two perfect innings with three strikeouts in his first tune-up in the Marlins’ 6-3 loss to the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

“Really good,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “First-pitch strikes, dominated the strike zone, wipeout slider. Fastball was where it needs to be, maybe even better at this point. So yeah, it looked excellent.”

At 26 years old, Luzardo has learned over the years how best to approach Spring Training. He used to arrive “super ready to go,” throwing hard to the point he felt worn out by the time camp broke. Now, Luzardo tries to command the zone and get a feel for his pitches, knowing the velocity eventually comes.

Predominantly a fastball/slider pitcher in 2023, Luzardo wants to incorporate his changeup more in ’24. He watched the pitch get him back into counts three times and induce outs in three other instances. He also tested his curveball as part of his 23-pitch outing.

“I was able to mix in the curveball and the slider today, which is something I'm also working on [with] the curveball,” Luzardo said. “Just seeing both of them do what we want them to do so early in spring is something that's positive, but we've got to obviously keep working, keep building on it.”

When will we see Anderson in a game?

swung in the batting cage on Saturday shortly after signing with the Marlins, then sat in the dugout for the Grapefruit League opener. He got a full workout in on Sunday, stretching with his new teammates, playing catch with Xavier Edwards and Avisaíl García, participating in infield drills and taking batting practice on the main field.

Miami will monitor Anderson’s progress every day, according to Schumaker. Remember that the other position players in camp have been around since at least Tuesday’s first workout.

“[He’ll] stand in with live [batting practice] -- whether or not he swings or not -- not really sure,” Schumaker said, “and then, just monitor how he feels. I still think he's going to be a couple more days before he sees game live action.”

Ground control

Through two Grapefruit League games, the Marlins have recorded three pickoffs -- two by pitchers (Anthony Bender and Calvin Faucher) and another by catcher Nick Fortes. It’s an organizational effort to improve upon an area of the game Miami struggled in last season.

In 2023, opposing clubs took advantage of Miami on the basepaths with the implementation of new rules. The Marlins and Blue Jays tied for the eighth-most steals allowed per game (0.80).

“We're trying to take advantage of some of the rules and doing the best we can to limit the size of the leads and secondary leads, whatever it is,” Schumaker said. “If they're not worried about you, then they're going to be off to the races. So we have to be cautious and smarter when they're on the bases, and so trying to pick more and have some different plays on to combat that is -- we're testing it out. We'll see if it works.”

Top 30 prospects watch

• Jacob Berry (No. 4 prospect) went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.

• Left-hander Patrick Monteverde (No. 15 prospect) pitched two scoreless with three strikeouts and one hit-by-pitch in his Grapefruit League debut.

• Javier Sanoja (No. 16 prospect) was hitless in two at-bats.

• Troy Johnston (No. 20 prospect) went 3-for-3.

• Right-hander Anthony Maldonado (No. 23 prospect) allowed one run on one hit with two walks and one strikeout in the ninth.

Up next

Right-hander will make his spring debut against the Cardinals on Monday at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET.