In a historic Spring Training series in Panama with the New York Yankees, the Miami Marlins gave left-handed pitcher Brad Hand the start and he delivered. Hand pitched five innings and struck out six Yankees not allowing a single run to cross the plate, or even a single hit. He also threw 27 strikes on 28 pitches.
Hand was on his game.
The start was most important for Hand because he is out of minor league options. If Miami cuts him, he is not going back to the minor leagues. He needs a great Spring Training to solidify a roster spot with the Marlins. He has caught a break with the organization wanting to rework Carter Capps‘ delivery. Mainly because of that, Hand can sneak in and grab a spot on the 25-man roster.
He was definitely in the mix to steal a rotation spot from Tom Koehler in the beginning of the spring, but because Koehler is having a good month, it looks like he will win the No. 5 spot on the Marlins’ pitching rotation. He has a 0.75 ERA allowing one run on seven hits. He also has a .175 average against and 12 strikeouts.
Hand, on the other hand, had a solid 1.29 ERA through seven innings prior to pitching against the Yankees Saturday. The projection for him is to start the season at long relief. Barring some sort of catastrophe on the mound, Hand definitely deserves a spot on the final roster.
Miami sits on top of the Grapefruit League standings. So far, it is having a nice turnaround. Miami is definitely becoming a bit of a dark horse team if the roster can fill out nicely.