Ex-starter Hand saves 'pen with rare three-frame save
MIAMI -- When Brad Hand opened Spring Training, the lefty was competing for the fifth-starter spot. He ended up making the Opening Day roster as a multiple-inning lefty reliever.
Because of a rare situation on Friday night, Hand finds himself tied with Steve Cishek for the Marlins' lead in saves.
Even though the Marlins enjoyed a comfortable lead on Friday night, Hand pitched three innings and closed out the game. By rule, a reliever who throws at least three innings and records the final out gets awarded a save, regardless of the score. Miami beat San Diego, 8-2.
A career starter, Hand says he last logged a save in high school.
"They'd bring me in every once in a while, if the game got close," Hand said. "I kind of knew they were coming in there to finish the game. In the eighth, I might have gotten pinch-hit for if we had second and third or something."
Hand becomes the first Marlins reliever to log a three-inning save since Kevin Gregg on April 22, 2007. It also was the 10th three-inning save in club history.
The only pitcher in franchise history to do it more than once was Terry Mathews, who did it three times in 1995. Two of those were four innings.
"I talked about it in Spring Training, and at the beginning of the season, the importance of having guys who can throw multiple innings," manager Mike Redmond said.
Hand's three-scoreless-inning stint enabled Miami to handle the game with just two pitchers -- Tom Koehler and Hand.
"It's nice to not have to rely on the same guys every single night when you're winning the ballgame," Redmond said. "Brad has pitched some big innings for us."