The Marlins activated LHP Chris O’Grady off the disabled list Tuesday after he missed more than a month with a strained oblique.
O’Grady was used as a starter before his injury, but now Don Mattingly says he wants to use the lefty out of then bullpen, at least for the remainder of 2017.
Mattingly said he wants to try O'Grady in a lefty specialist role. https://t.co/6TYtyQkca0— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 19, 2017
The 27-year-old rookie made six starts before his injury, posting a 5.47 ERA and 1.56 WHIP with 26 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
O’Grady made his first appearance out of the bullpen Wednesday, pitching the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead over the Mets. He allowed one hit and walked a batter in a scoreless frame, but did retire both lefties he faced.
Even the hit was a lucky one, as O’Grady was getting soft contact using his cutter.
Lucky Hit: Phillip Evans (2) [NYM] off Chris O'Grady [MIA]: 81.5 mph, -17 degrees (Single)— MLBExitVelocity (@MLBExitVelocity) September 20, 2017
The inning was a promising one for Mattingly and the Marlins, who got a chance to see what the lefty can do in a relief role. Of O’Grady’s 24 pitches Wednesday afternoon, only 11 were fastballs, while the other 13 were cutters. He worked in a changeup and curveball as a starter, but a two-pitch mix could be all we see from O’Grady as a reliever.
The 2012 10th-round pick may not have a future in the Marlins starting rotation, but his elevated use of the cutter and success against lefties could land O’Grady a spot in Miami’s bullpen in 2018.