Bullpen options for Baltimore

For the Marlins to get back over .500 and into realistic playoff contention, they need to solidify their bullpen.

There are more unanswered questions, even after Josh Johnson’s brilliant eight-inning start on Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Rays.

When Johnson is on the mound, the bullpen pretty much gets a day off. Only closer Leo Nunez was used to polish up the ninth inning for his 15th save in 18 chances.

After the game, the Marlins announced they had designated Jorge Sosa for assignment and optioned Jay Buente to Triple-A New Orleans.

The club has yet to announce which two relievers would be getting called up for their series at Baltimore, which begins on Tuesday.

Burke Badenhop doesn’t appear to be one of them. Badenhop opened the season with the Marlins, but was optioned to Triple-A last month. Jose Veras, who is not on the 40-man roster, also was on the Opening Day roster before being designated for assignment in April.

If the Marlins stay with pitchers on their 40-man roster, there is a candidate to keep an eye on. Jose Ceda, the 23-year-old who was acquired from the Cubs for Kevin Gregg after the 2008 season.

Now, Ceda missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. He was in Spring Training this season for a little while with the big league club.

Ceda is working his way back into shape at low Class A Greensboro, where he has thrown eight innings with five strikeouts and one walk. His ERA is 4.50, but three of the four runs he allowed came on June 5.

If Ceda doesn’t get the call as soon as Tuesday, he is a promising hard-thrower who likely will make his big league debut sometime this season. Ceda threw 30 innings at Double-A Tennessee in the Cubs system in 2008.

He remains a possibility to help the bullpen in the near future.

Veras, meanwhile, has appeared in 23 games at New Orleans. He’s struck out 35 and walked 15 in 28 1/3 innings. Veras pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday, striking out three, but walking two.

With Sosa designated for assignment, Veras could be added to the 40-man and active roster for Tuesday, if the team goes with him.

Kris Harvey, at Class A Jupiter, and Brett Sinkbeil, at Triple-A New Orleans, are other right-handed relievers who are on the 40-man roster. They may be in the mix, if not immediately then something this year.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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