College Teammate Turns Marlins On To Righty Stone





FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—The circumstances were lost on righthander Dane Stone when he entered the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League game against the Astros in the eighth inning on July 19. The Marlins had a 6-0 lead and Stone retired all six batters he faced.

It wasn't until his teammates stormed the field that Stone realized what had happened. He had capped a combined perfect game with two fellow 2012 draftees, righthander Justin Jackson and lefty Patrick Merkling.

"When the sixth inning came around I was told I was going to pitch toward the end of the game," Stone said, "so I went out and started stretching and I really didn't think about it being a no-hitter at all. When I came in I still had no idea . . . It was a great experience so soon in my professional career."

That his professional career began in the Marlins organization is an added bonus for Stone, a Miami native who attended NAIA St. Thomas in suburban Miami Gardens.

Former college teammate Kelvin Colon, who now works in the club's retail operation as a warehouse manager, mentioned Stone to a Marlins scout. One side session later, the scout was convinced of the his ability.

"I was in my room and my buddy was watching the draft with my roommate," Stone said. "I was just sitting there watching TV and he was like, 'Yo, you just got drafted by the Marlins.' I was like, 'What?' I freaked out. Nothing better than the hometown team."

Stone, 21, hasn't disappointed the Marlins. After he struck out 26 and walked three in 18 innings in the GCL, he earned a promotion to high Class A Jupiter.

A couple of adjustments have helped. The Marlins wanted to see Stone whip his arm more dramatically, and his fastball went from the high 80s to a steady 90-93 mph.

He also eliminated a slide step with runners on base to reduce arm drag. The switch actually improved his times to the plate.

"My thing is I never had much instruction growing up," said Stone, who also throws a curveball, slider and changeup. "A little bit here and there, a little bit in college. These big league guys know what they're talking about."

FISH BITES

• Second baseman Donovan Solano and lefthander Wade LeBlanc—the former signed as a minor league free agent, the latter acquired in a minor trade—assumed regular roles in Miami following the July trade that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers.

• Triple-A New Orleans righthander Alex Sanabia missed all of July with an oblique injury.