Meet Ryan Tucker

Talent evaluators say Ryan Tucker has a power arm and tremendous potential.

One of five former first-round picks the Marlins had in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Tucker is now a 23-year-old looking to reach the next level. He’s had a taste of the big leagues, making 13 appearances (with six starts) in 2008.

Last year, the California native was held back because of injuries. He underwent quad surgery on his left leg early in the season, and later on dealt with an oblique problem.

“I tore apart my quad where it attached to my kneecap,” said Tucker, who was in the same Draft class as Chris Volstad and Sean West. “It was a thing that happened over time. Then I had an oblique injury at the end of the season. It was just a real long year last year. I’d never missed a game [due to injury] throughout the Minor Leagues until last year.”

The year, however, wasn’t totally lost, because in late September, he became the father of twin girls.

“It’s been a busy off season. I’ve been ready to get here, and get some sleep,” said Tucker, who makes Pasadena home.

“I’ve been throwing the whole winter,” he said. “It was a pretty short year for me last year. I was wanting to get going. I feel I’m right on pace. I don’t know what’s going to happen, or where I’m going to go [when the season starts].”

Because he missed so much time last year, Tucker is a long shot to make the Opening Day roster. Still, he is a hard-thrower who the club feels will eventually be a factor on the big league roster.

Tucker can either start or relieve. Because of his upper-90s fastball, some feel he could eventually close in his career.

Asked about if the is a starter or reliever candidate a few days ago, Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said he just wants the right-hander to be healthy. From there, the organization will figure out how to use him.

“I’m sure they would like to make sure I’m healthy first,” Tucker said. “Even in Spring Training last year, I was dealing with a knee issue. When we broke camp, they told me I was the [Triple-A] Opening Day starter, and I was really excited about that.

“I just want to come in here now ready. I want to show them that I took it seriously in the offseason. I’m coming in giving it my best chance to make it. If I don’t make it, I don’t make it. That’s kind of how it goes.”

— Joe Frisaro



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