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Messenger a closer candidate?


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Notes: Messenger up for closer role

Big righty is 2-7 with a 5.55 ERA in 88 big-league games

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

JUPITER, Fla. -- Don't rule out Randy Messenger winning the Marlins' closer race.

 

The 25-year-old, who had an up-and-down 2006 campaign in various relief roles, is healthy and confident that he can handle whatever situation is presented. Ultimately, he makes no secret about his aspirations.

 

"It's really up to [management], who they decide to be closer," Messenger said Sunday. "But as of right now, I feel like it's my job to take.

 

"It's mine for the taking; that's how I feel. If I don't take it, it's my fault."

 

The early front-runner to assume the closer spot is Kevin Gregg. Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens are also in the mix now that lefty Taylor Tankersley is resting his arm due to shoulder inflammation. If Messenger performs during Grapefruit League action, he can battle his way into the mix.

 

With 88 big-league games of experience, Messenger has a 2-7 career mark and a 5.55 ERA. He appeared in 59 games a year ago and was 2-7 with a 5.67 ERA, striking out 45 while walking 24 in 60 1/3 innings.

 

Messenger turned in a strong 1 1/3-inning performance in Sunday's 12-3 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. He retired all four batters he faced on 12 pitches, striking out two.

 

Messenger, who has a 95-mph fastball to go along with a slider, split-finger fastball and curveball, has closing experience in the past. In 2004 for Double-A Carolina, he had 21 saves, and he added seven more saves for Triple-A Albuquerque in 2005.

 

A year ago, Messenger was counted on in setup situations early, but in the second half, he struggled with his consistency and didn't get as many opportunities.

 

In June, he was outstanding, giving up one earned run in 9 1/3 innings. On the flip side, he floundered in August, giving up 15 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (13.06 ERA).

 

"I think I started trying too hard and aiming everything, instead of letting my pitches work themselves," Messenger said. "That's my biggest problem, I think."

 

Recently, Marlins assistant general manager Mike Hill joked around with Messenger about consistency.

 

"Mike said, 'I want the Mess of May and June. I don't want the Mess of August. We need you for 162.' I said, 'All right, Mike. I got you. I'm not going to let you down,'" Messenger said. "At first I was pitching a lot, and then [former manager Joe] Girardi stopped using me. He was putting me in once in a while. When you are using someone as much as I was being used at the beginning of the season, you can't turn away from me or turn your back on me. ... I didn't throw for a week and a half.

 

"This year, it's a whole new ballgame. You've got a bunch of young kids who have great arms. But as long as I throw my pitches consistently for strikes -- all of my pitches -- I look at it as this is my time to shine."

source

 

Decent in the setup role last season. Could work.

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Messenger, who has a 95-mph fastball to go along with a slider, split-finger fastball and curveball, has closing experience in the past.

 

 

 

ummmmmm

 

has anyone ever seen these pitches from him? I can't really recall more than his straight fastball or flat slider. with all those pitches he'd be pretty decent!

 

In all seriousness, Mess did have that nice month and I'll be rooting for him to make the team and do well this year. Maybe show me those pitches.

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Messenger, who has a 95-mph fastball to go along with a slider, split-finger fastball and curveball, has closing experience in the past.

 

 

 

ummmmmm

 

has anyone ever seen these pitches from him? I can't really recall more than his straight fastball or flat slider. with all those pitches he'd be pretty decent!

 

In all seriousness, Mess did have that nice month and I'll be rooting for him to make the team and do well this year. Maybe show me those pitches.

 

Usually, the only pitches I remember that weren't flat were the ones arcing over the outfield wall-time and time again. That being said, early on he had better stuff and his fastball was 4-5 mph faster. Can't say he doesn't have the stuff to do it-hope he can prove it.

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