Madero turns in scoreless big league debut

May 11th, 2021

Marlins right-hander pitched two scoreless relief innings in his Major League debut in Monday night's 5-2 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field. Madero, who was originally signed by Arizona in 2013 as an international free agent out of Venezuela, worked the sixth and seventh.

With No. 22 prospect Jordan Holloway making his first Major League start in the road-trip opener and Miami using a bullpen game last Wednesday, the club selected Madero’s contract as part of a series of moves on Sunday. As the Marlins continue to move around parts to fill out their pitching staff, they may have found their long reliever.

"At that point, we want to protect the other guys in the 'pen, and we need to have some length," manager Don Mattingly had said. "You know we sent Daniel [Castano down], knowing that we're going to need a starter again [on Thursday], but also knowing that we want to protect with some length in our bullpen."

Miami hasn't been able to get reliable production from the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation, with Elieser Hernandez and Sixto Sánchez sidelined. No. 10 prospect Nick Neidert and Castano have combined for seven starts. With No. 29 prospect Jorge Guzman transferred to the 60-day injured list, the 40-man roster move freed up space for Madero.

This marks Madero's first callup. He played four years in the D-backs’ organization and also spent time in the Angels' and Giants' systems. Across seven Minor League seasons, Madero has a 4.38 ERA in 103 games (86 starts).

Madero received the news of his callup over the phone from Triple-A Jacksonville manager and fellow countryman Al Pedrique before going to eat together. The timing was special because it came on the eve of Mother’s Day, and his late mom always offered him support. He wrote 'Mom' with a heart behind the mound because “I always feel like she's with me” prior to his debut. When Madero joined the big league club, he found a familiar face in Marlins bullpen coach Wellington Cepeda, whose time with the D-backs overlapped with Madero's.

“Earlier today, I was very anxious that I was going to get the chance to pitch,” Madero said via an interpreter. “I got to warm up, I got to the mound and I was realizing my dream was coming true. Looking around and everything was just really good. I was very anxious, making sure everything came out perfect with all my pitches. All the results came out right. I was very happy to just to fulfill my dreams.”

The 24-year-old allowed one run over 3 1/3 innings in an outing for Jacksonville before the callup, building up to 67 pitches (47 strikes). He appeared just once in a Grapefruit League game, pitching a scoreless frame. Madero believes his work at the alternate training site in Jacksonville, Fla., helped his case. According to his own scouting report, he has a fastball with good movement, a sinker and a slider that he uses to get his outs.

"The biggest thing was that he looked like a strike-thrower, a guy who was billed as a strike-thrower coming over, a guy that had a good slider, a good little mix of pitches and doesn't really scare," Mattingly said. "He didn't look like a guy that was overwhelmed by being in camp or anything else, and really that's what we looked at. You don't want to bring a guy up that's not going to throw the ball over the plate. That's one of the things with Luís we thought we would get if we needed him."

Thursday's plan
Pablo López and Trevor Rogers will start on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Mattingly said there's a possibility of someone being called up to toe the rubber for Thursday's series finale in Arizona.

Minor League roundup
Outfielder Jesús Sánchez made MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week for his performance during Triple-A Jacksonville's first six games. Sánchez, ranked as Miami's No. 6 prospect, slashed .556/.571/1.074 with one double, two triples, three homers and 12 RBIs.

First baseman Lewin Díaz (No. 5 prospect) also received votes after posting a slash line of .308/.379/.731 with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs.

Worth noting
Super-utility player Jon Berti started at shortstop for the first time this season on Monday. He has appeared at the position 34 times since 2019. Miguel Rojas, who was mentioned among the noteworthy performances in NL Player of the Week honors announced Monday, batted .458 with nine runs and 11 hits, including six for extra bases.