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Marlins to summon No. 2 prospect Alcantara

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The feeling won't be exactly like when he made his Major League debut, but for Marlins touted pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, it will be close.

The slender 22-year-old with the power fastball -- and Miami's No. 2 prospect -- will take the mound on Friday for the first time as a Marlin when he gets the nod in the weekend series with the Mets at Marlins Park.

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MIAMI -- The feeling won't be exactly like when he made his Major League debut, but for Marlins touted pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, it will be close.

The slender 22-year-old with the power fastball -- and Miami's No. 2 prospect -- will take the mound on Friday for the first time as a Marlin when he gets the nod in the weekend series with the Mets at Marlins Park.

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"I'm super happy," Alcantara said on Thursday morning. "I can't wait to get out there tomorrow and take the mound for the first time."

The Marlins haven't yet made the roster move official, but they have announced that Alcantara will be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans and make his first big league start on Friday. Reliever Nick Wittgren will be optioned to New Orleans to make room for Alcantara on the roster.

Also on Friday, the Marlins expect J.T. Realmuto to be in the lineup to catch Alcantara's season debut. A bruised left wrist kept Realmuto out of the starting lineup for the entire four-game series with the D-backs.

Alcantara's arrival has been much anticipated, and it will give a glimpse of what the Marlins' future may look like.

Alcantara was acquired from the Cardinals last December in the Marcell Ozuna trade, and while he reached the big leagues at age 21 as a September callup, he didn't make a start. He appeared in eight games and logged 8 1/3 innings, all as a reliever.

Friday will be his first start, and he draws a tough assignment, being matched against Jacob deGrom, one of the top starters in the sport.

"It's going to feel a little different, because I'm with a different club in a different ballpark," Alcantara said. "But at the same time, it's still the same plan, the same game."

Alcantara is ranked as the 92nd overall prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

"He's a lot different than you would think, than just a guy who throws 96-99 [mph]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You'd think he throws just a ton of fastballs. He's a guy who has got a pretty good two-seamer."

Alcantara was 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts for New Orleans. In 85 innings, he's struck out 64 with 34 walks. Standing 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds, Alcantara's fastball in the past has touched 100 mph. He's been 95-99 mostly this year.

Miami is committed to giving the rookie his opportunity to showcase himself in the second half. The rotation opening was created when Caleb Smith was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 3 lat strain. Smith likely will miss the remainder of the season.

The Marlins have been careful with Alcantara in his development. Even though he reached the big leagues in 2017, he made the jump from Double-A to the Cardinals.

There were areas of Alcantara's game that the Marlins wanted to keep refining -- like his secondary pitches, holding runners and commanding his pitches. That's partly why he spent half the season in Triple-A.

"The one thing to keep in mind with Sandy is to just temper expectations," Mattingly said. "There is still room for growth and still areas we feel he can improve on. It will be good to be able to see him do that here, but without the expectations, he's going to come out and just dominate. Maybe he does, but I think we should expect there will be some bumps in the road for him. We feel like there's going to be growth with that."

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

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara