MacDougal released, Jones optioned

Struggling to throw strikes this spring, the Marlins on Tuesday morning cut ties with veteran reliever Mike MacDougal.

The hard-throwing right-hander was released on Tuesday morning, after appearing in five Grapefruit League games for Florida. In his most recent outing, on Sunday against the Nationals, MacDougal worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs while walking three.

In 4 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League play, MacDougal walked seven and struck out two.

The Marlins on Tuesday also optioned lefty Hunter Jones to Triple-A New Orleans. with Jones out of camp, Florida’s lefty reliever situation is cleared up. Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer — both out of options — are projected to be the situational left-handers.

MacDougal signed a Minor League contract with Florida a couple of days before Spring Training began. Last year, he split time between the White Sox and Nationals. With Washington, he had 20 saves in 21 chances. But after the season he had surgery on his left hip.

MacDougal has been at his best when his fastball is in the upper 90s. On Sunday, it reached as high as 94 once, but for most of Spring Training it’s been clocked about 91-92 mph. Command has been an issue with the right-hander in the past.

Even with his 20 saves last year, he walked 31 and struck out 31 with the Nationals.

Because MacDougal has closing experience, he had been considered a candidate who could fill in at closer if Leo Nunez struggled or was injured.

Nunez is firmly established as the closer. But in case of an emergency, candidates to close would be Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Meyer and Seth McClung, if he makes the team.

Veras and McClung are signed to Minor League deals. Both have clauses to opt out on April 1 if they don’t feel they are part of Florida’s plans.

– Joe Frisaro

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