MIAMI -- The wear and tear on the bullpen this week against the Cubs in Chicago prompted the Marlins on Thursday to make a roster move.Before facing the Braves at Marlins Park, the club announced right-hander Elieser Hernandez was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list, and rookie right-hander Merandy Gonzalez
MIAMI -- The wear and tear on the bullpen this week against the Cubs in Chicago prompted the Marlins on Thursday to make a roster move.
Before facing the Braves at Marlins Park, the club announced right-hander Elieser Hernandez was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list, and rookie right-hander Merandy Gonzalez was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville.
Hernandez was a Rule 5 Draft pick in December from the Astros. The 23-year-old entered the season not having pitched higher than Class A Advanced. But he did make two rehab starts recently for Double-A Jacksonville, after he opened the season on the disabled list due to a tooth infection. During his recovery, he suffered a setback when he split a fingernail.
"It's a great feeling to be here," Hernandez said. "It's something I've been thinking about since Spring Training. Now, I'm just happy to be back here in the clubhouse."
At least for the short term, Hernandez's role is to pitch long relief, but he has a chance to eventually move into the rotation.
"Probably the No. 1 thing for me was his poise," Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach said. "As young as he is, he didn't look intimidated whatsoever in Spring Training. I realize it's spring, but you see a lot of guys come in their first spring, and they just knock themselves, and you can kind of see a little tentativeness. He didn't show that at all."
Hernandez actually was scheduled to start at Jacksonville on Wednesday, but he was scratched on Tuesday when the organization decided it needed another fresh arm in the big league bullpen. The 23-year-old made his MLB debut during Miami's 9-2 loss to the Braves at Marlins Park, tossing two innings of scoreless relief. He made it through the seventh and eighth innings on 32 pitches, with 21 strikes.
"Elieser did a really nice job," Wallach said. "It was pretty much what we saw in spring. We liked him in spring. It's nice to get him back here. He will help us."
As a Rule 5 player, Hernandez has to stay on the active roster, barring going on the disabled list, or risk being returned to the Astros. With four rehab appearances under his belt, he feels ready for his first big league challenge.
"I feel like I was getting better and better with each outing during my rehab stint," Hernandez said. "Now, I feel like I'm getting to the point I'm used to being at."
Miami optioned Gonzalez, who made six appearances and threw 13 innings, while posting a 2-0 record and a 4.85 ERA.
Gonzalez opened the year at Jacksonville, and he will go into the Jumbo Shrimp's rotation.
Before dealing with the tooth infection, Hernandez was impressing the Marlins' staff, and he had a strong chance to make the Opening Day roster.The Marlins' bullpen was taxed by the Cubs, especially on Monday when they lost, 14-2, and on Wednesday, when they fell, 13-4. Gonzalez threw three innings of relief on Wednesday, and Tyler Cloyd, their other long reliever, threw 86 pitches.
• Right-handers Brett Graves (left oblique strain) and Odrisamer Despaigne (right forearm strain) are each scheduled to throw three innings on Friday in an extended spring game in Jupiter, Fla.
• For a few days, Marlins reliever Tayron Guerrero had the distinction of throwing the fastest pitch in the Majors this year. On April 30, Guerrero hummed a fastball that Statcast™ tracked at 101.8 mph. Since then, Albertin Chapman of the Yankees has re-established himself at the top of the list with a 103.3 mph pitch on Tuesday, and the lefty had a reading of 102.6 mph on Wednesday. Jordan Hicks of the Cardinals touched 102.4 mph on Monday. Guerrero said his father called him up to inform him of Chapman's high marks.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.