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Herges wants to help young Marlins

Veteran reliever sees an abundance of pitching talent

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

JUPITER, Fla. -- Two days before the season opener, Matt Herges will turn 36. The veteran reliever, who broke in with the Dodgers in 1999, has had his share of experiences. Now a non-roster invitee with a strong shot of making a youthful Marlins' squad, Herges is witnessing a first. The Champaign, Ill., native has never been in a camp with so many quality young arms. Granted, no one is expecting first-season miracles from the high volume of young pitchers, but Herges sees an abundance of unpolished talent.

 

"Some of these arms, I've never seen a collection of prospects like this in my whole life. Every guy that goes out there is blowing me away with their stuff. I'm thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me. These guys are going to be great.' It's a good situation for the Marlins. I know it's rebuilding, but they've got a wealth of talent here for the future. The future is bright."

 

Herges has been a closer in the past, compiling 23 saves for the Giants in 2004.

 

With manager Joe Girardi batting around the idea of closer-by-committee situation, Herges will get a look, along with Joe Borowski, Travis Bowyer and Kerry Ligtenberg. Borowski and Ligtenberg have closed before, and Bowyer is a hard-throwing prospect with a 98 mph fastball.

 

Whatever role Herges winds up filling -- setup man or closer -- he is focused on making the team and contributing. "I've [closed] before, maybe not as much in the past as Joe or Kerry," Herges said. "I know Bowyer is the closer of the future for this organization.

 

"If you're a reliever, you either want to close or start. Those are the two best positions to be in. But that's neither here nor there. I'm just trying to make the team, no matter what the capacity is. I'm not even thinking about it. I'm trying to impress each time out."

 

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The Marlins inquired about making a trade for Herges last July, but he believes the deal didn't go through because there was no assurance the Marlins would keep Herges on the big-league club for the remainder of the 2005 season. Arizona, which was playing Herges' salary, didn't want to spend their dollars for a pitcher who might have been sent to Triple-A Albuquerque.

 

Herges ended up signing with the Marlins on Jan. 17, because he felt it was his best option.

 

Before making his decision, he consulted with Hollandsworth, who spoke highly of the organization. Marlins assistant general manager Mike Hill gave Herges' agent good indications, and the right-hander's wife, Jane, had a good feeling about going to Florida.

 

"There was nothing to hesitate about," Herges said.

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Guest markotsay7

Before making his decision, he consulted with Hollandsworth, who spoke highly of the organization.

Interesting that Holly spoke highly of us.

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