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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 11

Here’s the latest installment of the all-time Marlins roster series featuring former players Pat Venditte, Jesús Tinoco and Colin Rea, among others.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Fish Stripes is still early in the process of acknowledging/reintroducing you to each of the 630 players who have appeared for the Marlins franchise in a major league regular season game. The All-Time Marlins Countdown continues today with seven more players, including a pair from the 2020 squad.

560. Mitch Lyden

Almost precisely 10 years to the day that Mitch Lyden entered professional baseball by signing with the Yankees as their 1983 fourth-round draft pick, he made his major league debut with the Marlins. Lyden served as the club’s starting catcher at Wrigley Field on June 16, 1993. His very first swing? A solo home run against Cubs right-hander José Bautista.

It all went downhill from there, unfortunately. The Fish blew their lead that afternoon and lost the game. Lyden went 1-for-2 off the bench two days later in another defeat before being optioned down to the minor leagues. After being recalled in late September, the 28-year-old Oregonian was limited to pinch-hitting duty. Overall, the Marlins went 0-6 in games that he appeared in.

559. Mike Myers

Before going on to establish himself as one of the most successful LOOGYs in MLB history, Mike Myers was an intriguing minor league starter. The Marlins plucked him out of the Giants farm system via the 1992 Rule 5 Draft. During his age-23 season, Myers posted a 1.85 earned run average over the course of 92 13 innings between Low-A Clinton and High-A San José.

That success didn’t translate to Triple-A, however. Myers debuted in The Show with a scoreless inning of relief on April 25, 1995. He did it again the following week. But the Marlins were underwhelmed and traded him to the Tigers in August as a player to be named later in exchange for fellow left-hander Buddy Groom.

Myers would pitch 881 more games in his career—all of them out of the bullpen—and earn a 2004 World Series ring with the Red Sox.

558. Jesús Tinoco

Fish Stripes original GIF

Jesús Tinoco originally entered the professional ranks with the Blue Jays before being thrown into 2015’s Troy Tulowitzki/José Reyes blockbuster. Unlike the previous two players mentioned, Tinoco arrived in South Florida with prior major league experience, having contributed to the 2019 Rockies pitching staff. On August 14, 2020, he swapped teams with Marlins minor league reliever Chad Smith.

Tinoco has the distinction of being the only player ever to pitch at least five career innings for the Marlins without allowing a run. The 25-year-old won’t be adding to that total for the foreseeable future—with the Marlins facing a midseason 40-man roster crunch, he returned to the Rockies as a waiver claim.

557. Pat Venditte

Pat Venditte has bounced around to seven different MLB organizations, but you need only to watch him face a few batters to understand what distinguishes him from countless other journeymen:

The Nebraskan is a legitimate “switch-pitcher,” equipped with a six-fingered glove and a respectable slider that he can thrown with either arm.

Venditte earned an invite to Miami’s 2020 spring training, got cut shortly before Opening Day, then came back into the fold following the infamous COVID-19 outbreak. He was quickly ascending the bullpen hierarchy with 4 13 effective innings, but suffered a season-ending right oblique strain (no, you can’t throw lefty when hampered by that kind of injury).

As of this writing, it’s unclear whether or not Venditte will continue his playing career in 2021.

556. Jerry Brooks

A small sample size superstar, pinch-hitter Jerry Brooks slashed .400/.571/.800 in seven plate appearances for the 1996 Marlins. He spent the vast majority of that season with their Triple-A Charlotte affiliate, where he also mashed (.288/.335/.577, 34 HR, 107 RBI).

Seeking regular playing time and a pay raise, he made the move to Japan the following winter. Brooks stayed with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1997-1998 and hung up his cleats for good after his 2000 campaign in independent ball.

555. Hunter Jones

Florida State University product David “Hunter” Jones became a Marlin via the November 2009 Jeremy Hermida trade. He retired five of seven batters faced in May 2010, but never got another opportunity.

Jones became the first player named “Hunter” in Marlins history. He has since been joined by left-hander Hunter Cervenka.

554. Colin Rea

The Colin Rea era in Miami lasted approximately 58 minutes—that’s how much time elapsed between his first pitch with the club on July 30, 2016 and when he was escorted off the field by the athletic trainer. Torn ulnar collateral ligament. Season over. Career disrupted.

Suspecting foul play on behalf of the Padres, Major League Baseball ordered them to reacquire Rea on Aug. 1 and send right-hander Luis Castillo back to the Fish, reversing a portion of what was originally intended to be a seven-player trade.

More than four years later, Rea resurfaced in the majors with the Cubs (5.79 ERA, 4.98 FIP in 14.0 IP in 2020).