Notes: Guzman thankful; Alfaro at first base

August 18th, 2021

MIAMI -- Though the final result isn't what he hoped for, Marlins prospect believes he can build on his 2021 debut.

The 25-year-old right-hander opened the seventh inning of Monday night's 12-2 loss to the Braves by striking out Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley swinging for the first K's of his career. After Dansby Swanson reached on an infield single and Adam Duvall walked on four pitches, Travis d'Arnaud produced a two-run double. Guillermo Heredia also walked before Guzman struck out pitcher Touki Toussaint to end the 34-pitch frame.

Guzman recorded whiffs on nine of the Braves' 15 swings, using a four-pitch arsenal of a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball and changeup. His maximum velocity was 98.4 mph, with a 97.3 mph average on the four-seamer.

"Last night, things didn't come out the way it should have come out, but thank God I have the potential to compete here in the Major League level," Guzman said via an interpreter.

Miami's No. 26 prospect made his Major League debut on Aug. 6, 2020, before being sidelined as part of the team's COVID-19 outbreak. He admitted that the brief stint showed how much he needed his slider and changeup to improve. That has helped him find confidence that he wants to translate to the Major League level.

At Triple-A Jacksonville, Guzman recorded at least four outs in six of nine outings this season. Five of his appearances were scoreless, and he was unable to strike out a batter just twice. Guzman got a late start because of a right elbow spur.

"Seen a little different look this year than last," manager Don Mattingly said. "I thought he was aggressive with his fastball, and he was trying to pitch. It looked like he was using his changeup, using his slider. As the evening went on, it seemed like he was having a lot more trouble landing those. But he was aggressive early with Freddie and then Riley right there, back-to-back on the attack, and then it seemed to get away from him as the inning went on, wasn't able to land that soft stuff.

"So we'll see where we go with that through the course of the year, but that's an inning you get him out there, he punches out three, then we're kind of scattering and spraying the ball all over the place. First time out there this year, thought he looked a lot more confident than last year. So we just move forward."

Alfaro at a new spot

Add another job to 's resume.

Alfaro, who has been Miami's primary catcher since 2019, made his first start at first base for the organization. He did appear there twice (one start) for the Phillies in '17. Alfaro also has manned the position for two innings during his Marlins career.

Since backstop Alex Jackson's activation, Alfaro has started eight games in left field. During that span, he has been behind the plate three times, including in each of the past two games. This was done in order to keep Alfaro's bat in the lineup -- and add to his versatility and value. But with the return of No. 5 prospect Jesús Sánchez, that would take away outfield reps. Sánchez has started in right field in two straight games, with Bryan De La Cruz shifting to left.

In giving Alfaro a start at first base -- a position catchers have been known to play in order to give their legs a break -- Jesús Aguilar gets a breather.

“I thought he looked really good,” Mattingly said after the Marlins' 2-0 loss to the Braves. “I think it was [Ozzie] Albies with the ground ball that he made a good decision of taking the back step. Jorgie is really athletic. I do think it adds [to] his versatility. I know they were working him out through that Denver-San Diego trip, and [infield coach Trey Hillman] had told me that he looked really good over there. We're going to have to find a way to give Agui a day here or there.”

Latest on Rogers

Rookie left-hander will be transferred from the bereavement list to the restricted list, a source told Rogers, who was spotted walking from the field to the dugout to the clubhouse after a workout on Tuesday, has been away from the team since Aug. 3.

The 23-year-old is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate, but he has not pitched since July 31. Rogers has a 2.45 ERA in 20 starts.