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Rotation candidate Peters struggles, walks 4

Lefty retires only 1 of 5 batters faced; O'Grady, Despaigne having good spring; Brinson, Sierra showing promise
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- The plan was to get three innings out of Dillon Peters on Wednesday afternoon against the Nationals, but the Marlins left-hander walked four of the five batters he faced, and wasn't able to get through the seventh.

In the mix for a rotation spot, Peters had a rough outing in the Marlins' 3-1 victory at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. But manager Don Mattingly isn't putting too much stock in one performance, and he's looking to see how Peters recovers the next time out.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- The plan was to get three innings out of Dillon Peters on Wednesday afternoon against the Nationals, but the Marlins left-hander walked four of the five batters he faced, and wasn't able to get through the seventh.

In the mix for a rotation spot, Peters had a rough outing in the Marlins' 3-1 victory at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. But manager Don Mattingly isn't putting too much stock in one performance, and he's looking to see how Peters recovers the next time out.

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"Obviously, a little hiccup here today," Mattingly said. "We'll see how he bounces back. I think that's going to be key with a lot of our guys. There's going to be times they struggle -- it will be how they handle that and bounce back to improve from there. We'll see where Dillon goes. He's competitive. I'm counting on him being all right."

Peters is Miami's No. 15 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and he showed promise last September as a callup. He tossed two scoreless innings in his first Grapefruit League appearance, striking out three while allowing three hits against the Cardinals on Feb. 23. But on Wednesday, the lefty struggled to find the plate, and he was lifted after 26 pitches. Peters ended up throwing some extra pitches in the bullpen.

"Obviously, the walks are something you don't want to see," Mattingly said. "He got out of rhythm there, and couldn't find it. Never got it back."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Position battle
Add Chris O'Grady to the list of potential left-handed relievers in Marlins camp. The 27-year-old assumed multiple roles with Miami in 2017, initially being part of the rotation. He made six starts before joining the bullpen later in the season, and he made seven relief appearances.

O'Grady offers the flexibility to start, but he's now one of the front-runners for a lefty bullpen spot. He tossed a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday. The club's top lefty last year was Jarlin Garcia, but he's now being groomed to start.

"I think we're looking at [O'Grady] more from a reliever standpoint, but as a reliever who can do multiple things," Mattingly said. "The thing about Chris we found out last year was he threw three straight days with no problem. He gets ready really easily. He's a five-, six-pitch guy to get ready."

Lefty batters hit .167 off O'Grady last year, but he's not regarded as a specialist. The Marlins envision O'Grady as being able to work one-plus innings. He may be asked to get a left-handed batter to close out one inning and pitch the following inning, if the matchups are right.

"He showed us some things last year that he really should be in that [bullpen] mix," Mattingly said. "We look at him more as a reliever in this camp. That can always change."

Prospect watch
• Top Miami prospect Lewis Brinson, rated 27th on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, had two hits, continuing to show he might be ready for a big-league role. Brinson doubled and scored against Tanner Roark, and later added a single to right, battling with two strikes and dropping a flare into right off Shawn Kelley.

• Outfielder Magneuris Sierra, the Marlins' No. 7 prospect, led off and played right field. Sierra went hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts. But along with his game-changing speed, the 21-year-old shows signs that he will hit, with a solid swing and good approach.

Quoteable
"I liked 'O' when he was in San Diego. I thought his stuff was good. I think the issues have been in the past, it's not the same every time out. He will get out and [start] playing around too much and not attacking the strike zone. As long as he's attacking the strike zone. He changes speeds, has a lot of different weapons, different looks. He is a guy who is interesting. … He's a candidate for multiple roles."
-- Mattingly on Odrisamer Despaigne, who struck out four in three shutout innings

Up next
The Marlins will be on the road on Thursday, taking on the Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET. Sandy Alcantara, ranked as the organization's No. 3 prospect, will make the start for Miami. Among the position players making the trip are J.T. Realmuto, who will be the designated hitter, Justin Bour and Starlin Castro. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and marlins.com.

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

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson, Odrisamer Despaigne, Chris O'Grady, Dillon Peters, Magneuris Sierra