Quijada savoring first day in Major Leagues

April 23rd, 2019

CLEVELAND -- stood in front of his locker, soaking in every sight inside the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field.

The left-hander wanted to catalog every moment of his first day in the Majors, which occurred Tuesday when the Marlins recalled him from Triple-A New Orleans.

“I’m very happy -- above happiness, I would say,” a beaming Quijada said through an interpreter. “Since you sign as a professional baseball player, this is your goal, so I feel humbled and I’m very happy. The emotions are great that I’m experiencing.”

The 23-year-old Venezuelan was added to Miami’s roster as a corresponding move for left-hander , who was placed on paternity leave. He was 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five relief appearances for the New Orleans Baby Cakes, striking out eight in eight innings.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly indicated that Quijada’s stay would be limited to the three days of Garcia’s leave, but said the team was eager to see if his composure carries over to the big leagues.

“We want to give Jose a little taste because we like his whole body language and his stuff is good,” he said. “He’s not afraid and he attacks hitters. He pitches with a little bit of attitude out there, but he doesn’t seem to let things get to him if he allows a run or two. These are all things you like to see from young players.”

Quijada is in his sixth pro season, all with the Marlins organization, who signed him as an international free agent in 2013. In each of his stops in the Minors since his 2014 debut, the 5-foot-11 hurler has racked up strikeouts out of the bullpen, with 290 over 259 1/3 total innings.

Quijada was named to the 2018 Southern League Midseason All-Star team while at Double-A Jacksonville before being moved up to New Orleans last June 3.

“Since I got into the 40-man roster for the first time, I’ve been waiting for this call for a long time already,” Quijada said. “I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

Interleague drama

Mattingly spent the entirety of his 14-year playing career in the American League with the New York Yankees, but he is an outspoken critic of the designated hitter. Miami will field a DH for the two-game series in Cleveland.

“I don’t like it that much because it’s just a different game,” he said. “We’re not really built for it yet, but maybe next year with the 26th man [on each roster], you might be able to use it for that reason.”

The Marlins will host the Indians next week for two games, forcing the 2018 AL Central champions to play under National League rules with their pitchers batting. Mattingly doesn’t believe it will slow them down.

“They play more of an NL game with a lot of running and bunting,” he explained. “Tito [Indians manager Terry Francona] has brought over a lot of those things with him, and they do them very well.”