25-year old right-handed reliever Jose Ceda is out indefinitely due to an elbow sprain. Ceda, who was making a run to be a middle reliever in the Miami Marlins’ bullpen, will likely require Tommy John surgery. The surgery, as most people know, takes around a year to recover from.
Ceda is a 6’4″, 280 LB rookie, has pitched 5 games (7.1 IP) this Spring, sporting a 1.31 ERA with 8 K’s, and 2 walks. He made 17 game appearances last year, serving 20.1 innings with a 4.43 ERA; Ceda was someone the Marlins had confidence in for the future. Unfortunately, that hopeful confidence trend has declined as of today, as the Marlins will likely not see him at all at the big league level during the season, nor the minor league level in most likelihood.
The Marlins will have an opportunity for RHP Wade LeBlanc to make the big league team now with Ceda gone. LeBlanc, someone who will likely win the long relief role (and possible starting role, if a starting pitcher were to get hurt), has put up good numbers this Spring. He’s 2-1 (6 games, 20.2 IP) with a 1.31 ERA, 19 K’s and only 2 walks. I fully expect LeBlanc to make the big league team, especially with Ceda off the chart. Regardless if you believe Spring Training stats carry over into the season, LeBlanc deserves the chance. Non-roster invitee Chad Gaudin is also another option for the role.
After that, one spot still possibly remains in the bullpen. RHP Juan Oviedo [formerly Leo Nunez] continues to faces visa issues in the Dominican Republic, and is still on the Marlins’ Restricted List. His return is not on any timetable; it’s still up in the air at this point. He was expected to return mid-March, but clearly didn’t. RHP Edward Mujica will most likely take Oviedo’s now-8th inning role (RHP Heath Bell replaced Oviedo’s closing spot) until he returns in a stable, game-ready condition- and hopefully with everything regarding his identity, legal.
UPDATE: According to a tweet from Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, Jose Ceda will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery. He is scheduled to do so on April 3rd.
-Derek (Source: Chris Girandola and Joe Frisaro, MLB.com [GO])