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Leiter going to 'Pen


Boog Sciambi
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game recap

 

Al Leiter (2-6, 6.75 ERA) is moving to the bullpen for now as the Marlins will temporarily go with four starters with two off days in the next week. Leiter hasn't pitched out of the bullpen since 1993 with Toronto.

 

CHICAGO -- A day after contemplating whether to skip Al Leiter from the rotation, Marlins manager Jack McKeon made the decision official Monday.

 

Leiter, who is 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA in 14 starts, will work out of the bullpen until most likely the Marlins' series against the Devil Rays, June 24-26.

 

"With his experience, maybe he can help us out of the bullpen," McKeon said.

 

The 39-year-old Leiter last threw in relief in 1993, while he was with the Blue Jays. That year, he appeared in relief 22 times and made 12 starts.

 

Leiter has been a starter ever since, and has enjoyed an impressive career, compiling a 157-126 record.

 

The Marlins are in position to go with a four-man rotation through the Tampa Bay series because of off-days on Thursday and June 20.

 

Leiter's spot in the rotation was to come up Friday in Anaheim against the Angels. With the team off Thursday, Brian Moehler, who pitched Sunday, will fill in.

 

Until Leiter later this month, the rotation from Friday on will be Moehler, Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett.

 

"I think you take life as it is," Leiter said. "The mood I'm in right now is disappointed, pitching-wise. But I can't beat myself up over it. What I can do is think of things to make me better, so that I can win games, go deeper in games, and be an asset to this franchise."

 

In his second stint with the Marlins, Leiter was a hero on the club's 1997 World Series title team. He also threw the first no-hitter in Marlins history.

 

After spending the past seven seasons with the Mets, Leiter signed as a free agent with the Marlins in December, accepting an $8 million contract.

 

"Maybe it's like more of getting away from thinking about it," Leiter said of pitching in relief. "Clearing your mind. I feel fine."

 

General manager Admin Beinfest said: "The next two weeks, we'll look at it. You know Al. He's been a big winner for a long time. He needs to work through this."

 

As Leiter heads to the bullpen, starter Ismael Valdez continues to work back into playing shape. Out all season with a hairline fracture of his right fibula, Valdez has begun throwing bullpen sessions. He is several weeks away from being activated.

floridamarlins.com

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