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Bullpen close to being set

Eddie Altamonte

Dec 31, 2005
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Posted on Fri, Mar. 16, 2007
New relievers impressive for Marlins
Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens came over from the Mets in an offseason trade with hopes of making the Marlins' bullpen.
Both have been impressive this spring. Owens is 1-0 and hasn't allowed a run through five appearances spanning seven innings, and Lindstrom is 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA over four appearances and seven innings this spring.

''I wouldn't say [Owens and Lindstrom] were a surprise,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``This is what they had been advertised from our scouting people, and they are as good as advertised.''

Both were glad to come to a team such as the Marlins, where -- unlike many big-league clubs -- they knew at least the opportunity would be there.

'It could have gone either way. It could have been, `Oh my God,' but it didn't go that way, which is good,'' Gonzalez said. ``You know historically the Marlins are a franchise that is not afraid to go young. I've heard Matt talk about Mets camp, and he knew he had no chance to make the bullpen. He realizes he has a chance here, and he had taken the bull by the horns -- him and Hank.

``They are not young. They're in their mid-20s, and I think maturity-wise, they can handle a lot of stuff.''

The Marlins will carry seven pitchers in the bullpen, and with two weeks left in camp, Gonzalez said he has about five of the seven figured out.

''I'm going to go ahead and jinx them right now and say I feel pretty good about them,'' he said. ``Guys have been throwing real well.''

The Marlins tried to add some help to the bullpen this week, and were talking to the Arizona Diamondbacks about trading for Jorge Julio, who might have been the answer to the closer problem.

Julio, 28, has been in the big leagues for six seasons and has 99 saves in 124 opportunities in his career. Julio, a right-hander who pitched for the Mets and Diamondbacks last season, saved 16 of 20 games last season (15 of 19 for the Diamondbacks) and had 88 strikeouts in just 66 innings, with 35 walks. But the talks didn't produce anything, and as of Thursday, the Marlins appear ready to fill their bullpen needs internally.

''We know [the rotation], but we want to clean it up,'' Gonzalez said Thursday. ``It's really the first time maybe the whole year you can set up a couple of series.''

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