Headed to Jupiter, Gregg likely to join Marlins soon
Veteran reliever signs Minors deal, but could get call in as early as 10 days
MIAMI -- Reliever Kevin Gregg officially signed a Minor League contract with the Marlins on Tuesday, sealing his eventual return to a club he pitched for from 2007-08.
As a closer for the Marlins, Gregg collected 61 saves in 74 opportunities. The right-hander has 177 career saves.
Gregg will report to the Marlins' complex in Jupiter, Fla., to throw some bullpen sessions and face live competition before he receives an assignment. There is no timetable for his arrival in the big leagues, but it could be as early as 10 days from now.
By signing a Minor League deal, the Marlins do not have to create an immediate 40-man roster spot for Gregg. But the 35-year-old is not expected to be in the Minors very long.
With the Cubs last season, Gregg saved 33 games in 38 chances and had a 3.48 ERA.
"As we've seen, it's not easy for young guys to [pitch in late innings]," manager Mike Redmond said. "It definitely is an art and comes with the experience. To have Gregg, who's saved a ton of games in the big leagues and has done lots of different roles and has that experience, hopefully will help us down the road."
Gregg's signing marked the second move made by the Marlins' front office since Carter Capps was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain last week. Dr. James Andrews will evaluate the reliever on Wednesday, and Tommy John surgery is a possibility.
Acquiring experience is important to the Miami ballclub, as it has struggled to hand the ball over to closer Steve Cishek. With Gregg in the bullpen, Redmond would have another potential closer to add to the mix.
"I think if you look at what he's done in his career, he's definitely that guy," Redmond said. "He's closed games, he's done a lot of different roles."
Struggling defensively, Dietrich optioned to Triple-A
MIAMI -- Derek Dietrich, who handled a majority of the playing time for the Marlins at second base, was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday night.
The transaction was announced after the Marlins blanked the Rays, 1-0, at Marlins Park.
The Marlins have yet to announce a corresponding move, but it is expected to be Triple-A first baseman Justin Bour, who the Marlins acquired in the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. In 55 games with New Orleans, Bour, who was not in the Zephyrs' lineup on Tuesday night, is hitting .330 with nine homers and 36 RBIs.
With the Marlins using the designated hitter in St. Petersburg this week and Texas next week, the left-handed-hitting slugger could see playing time. Miami would need to clear room on the 40-man roster for Bour.
Signed in the offseason to be Miami's regular second baseman, Rafael Furcal still needs time before being activated from the disabled list, where he's been all season. On rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter, the former shortstop went 2-for-3 on Tuesday in the Hammerheads' 14-2 loss to Dunedin at Roger Dean Stadium. Furcal was replaced in the later innings of the blowout, and it was not believed to be due to an injury.
The Marlins have been planning on Furcal taking Wednesday off to travel to continue his rehab assignment at Double-A Jacksonville on Thursday. He has played in five of the past six games for the Hammerheads. The 36-year-old is 6-for-13 in his last four games.
Furcal strained his left hamstring in Spring Training, and he strained his right groin while on rehab assignment, setting him back another month.
As for Dietrich, he's appeared in 41 games and is batting .241 with five doubles, two triples, five home runs and 16 RBIs. Defensively, he's had his issues, committing eight errors, which is the most of any second baseman in the Majors.
Ed Lucas has started the past two games at second base, and the Marlins also have Donovan Solano and Jeff Baker who can man the position.
"We're just in a situation where we wanted to make sure that [Dietrich] plays," manager Mike Redmond said. "There are some defensive things that obviously we want him to work out. He needs to play. He's still a young guy. We love him and we love what he can do. He just needs to be more consistent. He understands that. We know he will go down and work on, not just his defense, but all aspects of his game. The guy is a big leaguer. It's all about consistency up here in the big leagues. I know he will go down there and do what he needs to do to come back here as soon as possible."
Marlins set for best of the rest after Astros pick
MIAMI -- Whichever direction the Astros go, the Marlins are prepared to respond accordingly.
Possessing the No. 2 overall pick, Miami is in an enviable spot for the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, which gets underway on Thursday.
The Marlins have a clear idea of what they want to do. But right now, they are unsure of which way the Astros, who own the No. 1 pick, are leaning.
"I understand, if I'm in their position, I'm going to try to make sure I utilize the advantage of having the first pick to try to do everything I could do to get the right guy and try to make the right deals," Marlins vice president of scouting Stan Meek said. "Yeah, they're playing close to the vest. I understand that. I get it. At some point, I think we'll know where they're going, but it won't really affect what we do."
The latest mock Draft, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis, has the Astros going with lefty prep star Brady Aiken from San Diego.
Callis has lefty Carlos Rodon of North Carolina State going to Miami at No. 2.
The Marlins aren't tipping their hand either way.
"We have put our board together regardless of what they're going to do," Meek said. "Whoever they take, we'll be prepared to take the next guy who we think fits."
The Marlins have narrowed their choices down to four, and maybe a fifth choice. Meek didn't specifically identify anyone, but others worth noting are Texas prep right-hander Tyler Kolek and San Diego prep catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson.
Whoever is the choice will be in position to cash in financially. The slot value for the second overall pick is $6,821,800.
"I think all of us feel like there is not one particular guy who just stands out above the rest," Meek said.
As symptoms persist, 15-day DL likely for Salty
MIAMI -- Chances are increasing that Jarrod Saltalamacchia could be out longer than seven days as he recovers from his concussion.
The Miami catcher, placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday, is still experiencing symptoms.
"Salty is still the same," manager Mike Redmond said. "I don't even know how long he's going to be."
By rule, Saltalamacchia must miss a minimum of seven days. If more time is needed, he would be transferred to the 15-day DL.
Jeff Mathis has been handling the regular catching duties, and rookie J.T. Realmuto was called up from Double-A Jacksonville to back up.
Realmuto is expected to get his first big league start during the two-day trip to St. Petersburg beginning on Wednesday.
"Salty has to make sure he is symptom-free," Redmond said.
Basically, the catcher's head has to be clear for three or four straight days before he can begin baseball activities.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.