MIAMI -- Jose Urena, the Marlins’ Opening Day starter, is expected to find himself closing when he is reinstated from the 60-day injured list, likely when rosters expand in September.
“We talked about this as a way to get him back on the field this year,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Knowing his mentality, and the way he attacks, we thought that might be the right way to be able to protect him, as far as getting him up, getting him ready and giving him more time.”
The possibility of Urena sticking as a closer is interesting, because the right-hander is a hard thrower -- averaging 95.6 mph on his two-seam fastball -- along with a mentality of going on the attack.
Urena has also been used in relief earlier in his career, so he has familiarity pitching in relief.
The 27-year-old went on the injured list on June 12, retroactive to June 9, with a lower back strain. Further diagnosis revealed a herniated disc.
Before the injury, Urena made 13 starts and was 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA. The Marlins also have had trouble locking down late leads since trading relievers Sergio Romo, Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards in late July.
By having Urena close, the Marlins can better manage his usage. This way, he will know he will work the ninth inning, or perhaps the eighth, when he is called upon in one-plus innings save situations.
“If you just say, ‘We are going to pitch him out of the bullpen,’ it could be anywhere, and then you’re stuck in situations where, all of a sudden, you have to get him up and get him going,” Mattingly said. “We have guys down there who are used to 10 or 12 [warmup] pitches, and they’re ready to go.”
In his big league career, Urena has one save, which came in 2016.
Impact Week continued for the Marlins on Saturday, and the Miami Marlins Foundation, with the organization visiting Feeding South Florida in Broward County. Front office staff, Billy The Marlin and former Marlins Alex Gonzalez and Charles Johnson inspected, sorted and organized the various food products that will then make it out into the community to assist families in need.
“It means a great deal for me to be here and give back,” Johnson said. “Being a part of the Marlins back in 1992 and being one of the first draft picks of the Marlins, I have always had this great feeling of love for the Marlins. For me, I am always here to help the Marlins Foundation because it is such a great cause and giving back to neat people.”
The Marlins partnered with Feeding South Florida once again this year to create and manage food pantries at local schools to provide under-served students and their families with necessary nutritional items as part of a new Foundation initiative Home Plate Meals.
Anderson IL, Dean recalled
As expected, right fielder/third baseman Brian Anderson officially was placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured fifth metacarpal to his left hand. Anderson was hit by a pitch on Friday in a 19-11 win over the Phillies. The recovery time is about six weeks, meaning it is likely his season is over.