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Prospect Garcia gives Marlins lefty options

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- They started the season with no left-handed relievers, and now the Marlins have one in Jarlin Garcia, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the organization's No. 4 prospect.

The way Garcia is throwing, the 24-year-old promises to remain in Miami's eight-man bullpen. The club isn't facing an imminent roster decision, but will have to make a move when Jeff Locke is ready to return from the disabled list.

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MIAMI -- They started the season with no left-handed relievers, and now the Marlins have one in Jarlin Garcia, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the organization's No. 4 prospect.

The way Garcia is throwing, the 24-year-old promises to remain in Miami's eight-man bullpen. The club isn't facing an imminent roster decision, but will have to make a move when Jeff Locke is ready to return from the disabled list.

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When Locke is ready, the Marlins wouldn't be opposed to carrying two left-handers, but will deal with that issue later. For now, Locke is building back from left shoulder tendinitis, but could be ready sometime in May.

"It's nice [having lefties], because there are certain left-handed hitters who struggle with lefties," manager Don Mattingly said. "They don't hit them nearly as well. So, it definitely gives you an advantage when you have [one]. Preferably, you'd like to have a couple, and if you have guys who can get both guys out, you wouldn't even mind having three."

What Garcia has done since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville is give the organization something to think about. He's a lefty whose four-seam fastball averages 94.31 mph, according to Statcast™. The MLB average is 92.80 mph.

Garcia mixes in a slider, and has shown he isn't intimidated by pitching in the big leagues.

Having a lefty reliever also gives opponents something to consider when they put their lineups together, like whether to line up left-handed hitters in a row.

"In a sense, it's a nice to have one out there, I will say that," Mattingly said. "[Garcia] has been a nice surprise."

Worth noting: The Marlins are still trying to figure out where Jose Urena projects in his career. The 25-year-old came up as a starter, and is tempting as a back-of-the-rotation piece. His fastball average is 96.27 mph, and he has an effective changeup. But he has struggled with command of his slider.

Video: PIT@MIA: Urena strikes out Cervelli in the 3rd

Urena is being used in long relief, and on Friday he logged 4 1/3 innings, throwing 87 pitches in a 12-2 loss to the Pirates.

Does he project as a starter or reliever?

"I think that's still been back and forth," Mattingly said. "If we can get a breaking ball, and get more [fastball] command on the other side of the plate, then obviously, his stuff is power stuff. It's power sink. Sometimes he just gets limited because he's not really getting the breaking ball over, or [doesn't] have a sharp breaking ball, so he becomes a two-pitch guy."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins