Is Leo tipping his pitches?

To Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire, something didn’t look right when Leo Nunez faced the Cardinals on March 11.

In that game, the Florida closer was tagged for five runs (three earned) in two-thirds of an inning. Nunez was looking to collect a save, but instead, he was slapped with the Grapefruit League game loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

The way the Cardinals were on Nunez, ripping four hits, had St. Claire wondering if the closer was tipping his hand.

As it turns out, he was.

“He was tipping his pitches,” St. Claire said. “It looked like these guys knew exactly what was coming. The way they hit the fastball, the way they stayed on the changeup, all of it.

“I went in to look at it, and it was really, really obvious from the video. So we’ve been working on it his last couple of outings.”

The way Nunez was positioning his glove made it clear to keen-eyed opposing hitters who detected the closer was telegraphing what he was throwing.

“It was easily recognizable,” St. Claire said. “Older, veteran lineups like the Cards picked up on it.”

Since then, the Marlins are checking to see how Nunez’s hand is going into his glove before delivering his pitches. Nunez struggled a bit on Wednesday against the Twins in Fort Myers, giving up one run on two hits in one inning. He had a strikeout and two walks.

St. Claire detected the tipping by reviewing video from this spring and last year. As it turns out, Nunez was also tipping at times in 2009.

Nunez has appeared in six games, and he’s thrown 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has given up six runs on six hits with six strikeouts and four walks.

Nunez is in the process of adjusting his glove to prevent hitters from knowing what pitch is coming.

— Joe Frisaro


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