MIAMI -- Back-to-back extra-innings games that covered 27 total innings forced the Marlins to make a few roster moves on Sunday morning.Right-hander Brian Ellington, who has been off and on in Miami's bullpen since 2015, was designated for assignment to make 40-man roster space for reliever Severino Gonzalez, who had
MIAMI -- Back-to-back extra-innings games that covered 27 total innings forced the Marlins to make a few roster moves on Sunday morning.
Right-hander Brian Ellington, who has been off and on in Miami's bullpen since 2015, was designated for assignment to make 40-man roster space for reliever Severino Gonzalez, who had his contract selected. And outfielder Braxton Lee was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Another roster move will take place before Monday's Interleague game with the Red Sox at Marlins Park. Right-hander Trevor Richards is expected to be added to the 40-man roster and make his MLB debut against Boston.
The need for extra pitching was magnified after Miami used eight pitchers over 17 innings in a 2-1 win over Chicago on Friday, then used five arms over 10 innings in a 10-6 loss to the Cubs on Saturday.
Now with Gonzalez as an extra reliever, Lee can go to Triple-A and play regularly.
The moves give the Marlins 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which was the intention coming into the season. But those plans changed due to a series of injuries late in Spring Training that created some roster shuffling.
"The original plan with Brax was to have him continue to develop," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think that's the best thing for him, and I think he knows that, too. We didn't want him to come here and sit on the bench. We knew this was kind of temporary for him, no matter what. I didn't know it would happen this fast. But obviously, the 17-inning game changed our perspective of our needs."
Lee made the Marlins' Opening Day roster for the first time this season as a reserve outfielder. He went 0-for-4 in his Major League debut on Friday and drew a walk in a pitch-hit appearance on Saturday.
Ellington, 27, compiled a 2.64 ERA through his first 55 Major League appearances in 2015-16, but struggled in '17, as his ERA ballooned to 7.25 in 42 games.
Richards, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 22 prospect, was in consideration to be a September callup in 2017. At two Minor League levels, he had a 2.53 ERA with 158 strikeouts and 30 walks in 146 innings.
The Marlins are being protective of their pitching prospects, but under the circumstances, Richards is regarded as the one most big league ready.
"That's the reason why he was that guy," Mattingly said. "We feel like he can handle that. He kind of showed it in spring. Will here be a different story? ... Obviously, we're not going to know until we get into these Major League, regular season-type competition. He's a guy who can pitch to a game plan. Has some weapons. He's interesting."
The Marlins' Organizational Pitcher of the Year in 2017, Richards attended Drury University. His college coaches and family members will be at the game. He made his case to be in the rotation by impressing late in Spring Training, twice beating the Nationals.
"Any opportunity I got to throw in a big league game was exciting, and an opportunity to get better every day," Richards said. "I tried to take full advantage of those, and I enjoyed throwing in those big league games. I'm excited to get the season going."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.