The Miami Marlins addressed a bit of their bullpen issue by choice over the weekend, designating Dustin McGowan for assignment and calling up Kyle Barraclough from Triple-A New Orleans. Today, they were forced to make another move, placing Edwin Jackson on the 15-day disabled list with a right triceps strain and calling up Nick Wittgren from New Orleans.
Edwin Jackson had appeared in four games for the Marlins, pitching 3.2 innings and allowing one run on five hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. Formerly a valuable starter, Jackson found a home in the bullpen last season, pitching effectively for the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before signing with the Marlins in 2016. He was to be given a chance to win a rotation spot in Spring Training, but ended up in the bullpen as expected.
Nick Wittgren is a 24-year-old right-hander who will be making his major league debut when he gets into his first game. He was drafted by the Marlins in round nine of the 2012 draft and has steadily risen through the minor league system. Last season, he pitched 62.1 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and posted a 3.03 ERA with 9.24 K/9. He punctuated that with an impressive 1.16 BB/9. That kind of strikeout upside and control has been missing from Miami’s bullpen this season, so his addition is a welcome sight. Wittgren has a chance to cement himself as a bullpen piece for the Marlins. With several other members of the pen struggling, Wittgren could stay on board when Jackson is ready to return, assuming he pitches well in his first taste of the show.