Miami Marlins rookie reliever Arquimedes Caminero wasn't looking at the scoreboard when he entered Friday night's game against the San Francisco Giants. Caminero was focused on one thing while making his major league debut in the team's 14-10 loss: Proving he belongs in the major leagues.
At 6-4 and 255-pounds, the Marlins always believed that Caminero had the ability to become a major league closer. His fastball, when at its best, can touch 100-miles per hour, but the control wasn't always there.
Miami patiently waited as Caminero developed into a promising pitching prospect after struggling to throw strikes consistently. After spending eight years in the Marlins' minor league system, Caminero achieved one of his goals on Friday night.
"It means a lot to me," said Caminero in an interview with the Miami Herald. "I've been working a long time for this."
Caminero was called up prior to Friday evening's contest after reliever Steven Ames, acquired from the Dodgers in the Ricky Nolasco trade, was optioned to Triple-A. He was also ranked the Marlins' 20th best prospect by MLB.com prior to the start of the season.
At Double-A Jacksonville this season, the reliever was 5-2 with a 3.61 earned run average. Caminero, who had to battle back from Tommy John surgery which he had in 2011, struck out 68 batters while walking 21 over 52 and a third innings.
Following the operation, Caminero was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA while recording 44 strikeouts and 19 walks between Single and Double-A, according to The Herald.
While pitching for the Marlins, Caminero has made it a goal to significantly decrease the number of walks he allows.
"I want to get a little bit better with the walks," said Caminero, who also throws a slider and splitter. "[The walk numbers] weren't very good in April, but it got better. I was working with [Suns pitching coach John] Duffy. Now I feel like I can be here."
Before the end of the season, the Marlins have made it a priority to evaluate the talent they have at the minor league levels. Caminero joined an efficient and young Marlins bullpen that will likely see several additions come September.
Manager Mike Redmond explained that the organization decided to promote Caminero now instead of in September because of the fact that they wanted to get an "extended look." The Dominican Republic native was successful in his first big league appearance, posting a scoreless inning of relief.
"This is a guy who has an ability to go in there and pick up some strikeouts which is always nice to have if we get into a situation where we need a strikeout or something," Redmond said. " I try to avoid [putting] guys in tough situations. Saying that, it's happened a couple times because of the situation we've been in. Hopefully get him in there as soon as possible, get comfortable and see what he can do."
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