More Velocity To Come For Marlins' Urena

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA Righthander Jose Urena was among a handful of players who came down from extended spring training in Jupiter to catch a Marlins game at Sun Life Stadium in May. While watching batting practice, Urena was asked about his fastball velocity.

"Not too hard, 94," he said.

That's only one reason Urena was among the top pitching prospects in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League last season. In his second pro season, he started 13 games and went 5-6, 2.61 with seven walks and 66 strikeouts in 83 innings.

Urena, 19, said he consistently hits 94 mph and tops out at 95. He'll likely add velocity as he fills out a 6-foot-3, 172-pound frame. Unlike many pitchers of his ilk in the early stages of their careers, Urena is not a rear-back-and-throw guy. He believes his best pitch is the sinker, which he complements with a curveball, slider and changeup.

"The curve is better than the slider, but it depends on the situation and the batter," said Urena, who will open the season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. "If the batter is expecting a curve, you have to throw him a slider."

Urena signed with the Marlins out of the Dominican Republic on Aug. 29, 2008, for $52,000. He said he chose Florida because of its reputation for fast-tracking talented, young players.

"I feel like I'm prepared and physically I feel great," said Urena, adding that the Marlins have emphasized releasing his slider and changeup out in front and getting greater extension on his fastball.

During his first pro season in the DSL, Urena started two of 14 games and struck out just four more batters than he walked (11) over 27 innings.

"Very good stuff and he's not just a big-arm thrower," farm director Brian Chattin said. "He has a hard slider at 82-85 and an advanced feel for the changeup with similar velocity to the slider. He has some pitchability."


• High Class A Jupiter outfielder Kyle Jensen won organization player of the month honors for April after batting .369/.454/.619 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 84 at-bats.

• Low Class A Greensboro's nine-game winning streak in April equaled the longest run since the franchise moved from Memorial Stadium to NewBridge Bank Park in 2005.