Jose Urena had difficulty throwing strikes out of the Marlins' bullpen in his first major league stint. But the Marlins are giving him another opportunity.
With Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, and Jarred Cosart on the disabled list, Miami will rely on its starting depth over the next few weeks. Urena was a candidate to be promoted once the Marlins placed Alvarez and Latos on the DL, and the club announced he would be the starter on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Over 37.1 innings with Triple-A New Orleans to this point in 2015, Urena posted a 1.21 ERA and 3.84 FIP. He has established himself as a consistent starting option, posting an ERA in the mid to upper threes in each of the last three seasons. MLB.com named him the second best Marlins prospect and he has yet to lose a Triple-A start this season (4-0).
When the Marlins' bullpen struggled early, the club called upon Urena, who was able to pitch multiple innings at a time in relief. In just three major league innings, Urena posted a 9.00 ERA and 7.48 FIP. He pitched an inning of scoreless relief against the Braves in his major league debut, but subsequently allowed three runs over two innings against the Mets.
The Marlins will rely on Urena to pitch deep into the game on Tuesday night and the decision to promote him was likely the result of David Phelps' outing on Monday. Brad Hand could start for the Marlins on Wednesday, however Justin Nicolino may be another starting option moving forward.
Urena is still working on throwing his breaking ball consistently and his distinct arm angle has made it challenging. He has the velocity to get major league hitters out on a regular basis, and if he thrives in a starting role, the Marlins may have a decision to make moving forward.
Miami has not yet announced the corresponding move, but since Andre Rienzo can start, Vin Mazzaro may be optioned back to Triple-A.