Luzardo 'making progress' amid tough year

August 14th, 2021

MIAMI -- Though Marlins left-hander Jesús Luzardo picked up a win for the second time in three starts on Friday night against the Cubs, he continues to walk batters. He issued four free passes across five innings, surrendering five runs in the process.

"That's something that I'm not really used to, and since I've been over here, it's become a problem," Luzardo said following the 14-10 victory. "I'm working on next outing it not being an issue."

The 23-year-old Luzardo, whom the Marlins acquired from the A's for Starling Marte, has 11 walks in 14 2/3 innings (6.8 BB/9 IP) since joining his hometown team. He had 3.8 walks per nine innings in 13 games (six starts) for Oakland this season, and just a 2.5 BB/9 mark from 2019-20.

Luzardo said it's not a case of mechanics.

"I just think it's more of me trying to be too fine," Luzardo said. "I was beat by the home run a lot earlier in the year, and I feel like it maybe got in my head a little bit and made me a little more tentative. After the second inning, I kind of just forgot about that and said, 'I'm just going to go be aggressive. Whatever happens, happens.' At the end of the day, I feel like I put in a lot of work this year, and it's been a frustrating year throughout the whole time. But I feel like I am making progress, and I saw that in the third, fourth and fifth [innings]."

Prospect returns
Miami recalled right-hander Jorge Guzman from Triple-A Jacksonville prior to Saturday's game with righty Zach Pop landing on the injured list with right middle finger soreness.

The 25-year-old Guzman opened the 2021 season on the 10-day injured list before being transferred to the 60-day IL with a right elbow spur prior to joining the Jumbo Shrimp. In nine appearances, he had a 3.52 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP, with 20 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. Guzman recorded at least four outs in six of those outings.

Miami's No. 26 prospect, acquired in the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Yankees, made his Major League debut on Aug. 6, 2020, despite never pitching above the Double-A level. He came down with COVID-19 and had not returned since.

"Obviously, a guy that has been throwing the ball good, and we're happy to have him back," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He seems a lot more confident just talking with him. Last year, you didn't feel like ... he was actually ready. You say now, 'I've got my changeup, I've got my breaking ball.' He's feeling a lot better, I think, about himself -- a lot more confident, and that's really what added time in the Minor Leagues and development is really all about."

Island of Enchantment
Puerto Rico became the latest heritage honored as part of the Marlins' season-long celebration. Isan Díaz is the lone Puerto Rico-born player on the club.

Mattingly spent time in the Puerto Rican Winter League following his rookie season in 1983. His objective? To see left-handed pitching. The left-handed-hitting first baseman slashed .264/.320/.379 with a .699 OPS vs. southpaws. Mattingly would go on to win an MVP Award, batting title and Silver Slugger Award (3x) and make six All-Star teams. Over the years, the likes of Tony Gwynn and Randy Ready also competed in the league.

"I got platooned my first year, and then at the end of the year in '83, [manager Billy Martin] played me against lefties and I was lost," Mattingly said. "I had a chance to go to winter ball, and I was really happy to be able to go over there. My main thought was, I wanted to keep playing and getting better, but I really wanted to work on hitting lefties. It's cool. With Puerto Rico, you've got a lot of different looks, and you get some really older players that are still playing. And then, even the younger guys that are right on the way. I know the league has changed a little bit. It was a really, really good league. There were just a ton of players that played in the big leagues for a long time."