Marlins' Sandy Rosario Takes A Happy Detour





FORT LAUDERDALE—Bags packed, righthander Sandy Rosario was set to return to the Dominican Republic after Double-A Jacksonville won the Southern League championship. The Marlins worked an intermediate stop into his itinerary.

Just as Rosario was washing the champagne out of his hair, he learned the Marlins needed him in the major leagues. It was an unexpected promotion, considering Rosario spent all of the season at low Class A Greensboro before the Suns plucked him for their postseason run.

"I didn't have an expectation (to reach the majors) this year," said Rosario, who went 7-2, 3.60 with 122 strikeouts and 17 walks in 90 innings at Greensboro. "I felt like I was playing with boys (at Greensboro). I was in that league in 2007."

Elbow and later shoulder trouble limited Rosario, 25, to two starts in 2007 and one in 2008 for Greensboro. After making 16 starts between the Grasshoppers and short-season Jamestown in 2009, Rosario returned to the South Atlantic League as a full-time reliever and dominated the younger competition.

As a starter, Rosario's fastball sat at 90-91 mph and touched 94. Out of the pen, it sat at 94-95 and touched 97.

"This year it was like relieving benefited me," he said. "I feel more comfortable."

Grasshoppers pitching coach Charlie Corbell said the strikeouts came easier for Rosario because he stopped worrying as much about missing bats.

"Somewhere between last year and this year he convinced himself his stuff was good enough to pitch in the strike zone," Corbell said.

Rosario wasn't quite ready for the big league challenge. He allowed six runs on nine hits in two outings totaling one inning. In his major league debut at Milwaukee, the first two batters he faced (Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder) took him deep in a span of three pitches.

"I was thinking, 'Damn, they didn't even let me pitch,' " said Rosario, who also features a slider that he morphs into a cutter against lefthanded hitters. "I wanted to attack the zone. The good thing was they hit me, but I never lost command. I kept attacking the zone regardless of what happened. I'm going to keep throwing strikes."

FISH BITES

• The Marlins named Double-A shortstop Ozzie Martinez and righthander Elih Villanueva their organization player and pitcher of the year.

• Jacksonville manager Tim Leiper served as Ernie Whitt's third-base coach on Canada's Pan Am qualifier team.