Pitchers showing support during warmups

JUPITER, Fla. — A pregame ritual is taking place before every Marlins’ Spring Training game.

Nathan Eovaldi warms up with support group behind him.

Nathan Eovaldi warms up with support group behind him.

When the starting pitcher takes the mound in the bullpen to throw his warmup pitch, the rest of the pitchers stand by and watch. It’s bringing more than just team unity and offering support. The pitchers are each looking to learn off each other.

It happened again on Thursday before the Marlins faced the Red Sox. Nathan Eovaldi stepped on the mound, and within seconds he had a support group not far from his shadow.

“You’re basically there, cheering him on,” reliever Mike Dunn said. “We’re watching him get ready to go and do his work. Hopefully, they’re going to be the one setting the pace.”

Jose warms up in front of his teammates.

Jose warms up in front of his teammates.

Dunn, a veteran in the bullpen, has watched the starting pitchers get ready for years. It dates back to when he was with the Yankees.

The routine has developed naturally. No one made an announcement, or said this is what they were doing. But they’ve been doing it since the first Grapefruit League game, when Jose Fernandez turned around and a crowd of pitchers huddled around him.

“All the pitchers are there, and why not? You can learn from every body,” Fernandez said. “I think that’s pretty cool. I did that last year a lot. I’d watch Ricky [Nolasco] and those guys. It’s not because you want to repeat exactly what he does, but you can pick up something and learn something. I like to pick up something from every body, and get better every day. It’s not mandatory to stand there.”

Dunn points out the Cardinals starters also watch each other.

“You look at the Cardinals,” Dunn said. “When their guys are throwing bullpens, their whole starting staff is watching that guy. Why? They might pick up on something that they’re doing. If someone has a question, you might be able to actually answer it, instead of saying, ‘I don’t know.’ When they’re out on the field, you can’t really tell what’s going on. But when they’re warming up, you can see if something is a little out of whack, you can tell him something.”

Joe Frisaro

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