Marquis confident in earning rotation spot on Reds

Veteran righty puts injuries behind him, feels good in first days of camp

Marquis confident in earning rotation spot on Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Veteran pitcher Jason Marquis is 36 years old, didn't pitch in the Majors last season while coming back from Tommy John surgery and is in Reds camp on a Minor League contract with no guarantees.

Even amid a large pool of candidates for the final two rotation spots, Marquis is one confident New Yorker and not worried at all about his chances of making the team.

"I don't focus on it. It's my job to lose," said Marquis, who is from Staten Island, N.Y. "I am not saying that to discredit anybody else in this room. That's the only thing I can worry about. What I control is every move I make, the work I put in, preparation and every pitch I make. Based on the way I feel physically, that's why I'm in a positive frame of mind right now.

"I didn't come into this to play the game for money. I play the game because I still love it. I still want to compete. I didn't want it to end with an injury. My family still wants me to play; they love it. I'm excited about the opportunity."

Marquis has 14 Major League seasons with eight clubs behind him, but he was sidetracked in '13 when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He was 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 20 games (117 2/3 innings) before injury shut him down near the end of that July.

Last season upon signing in June with the Phillies organization, Marquis pitched nine games in the Minors before his Aug. 31 release. As a free agent, he did his due diligence before signing with Cincinnati on Jan. 21.

"Coming into this year, I knew it was going to be a non-guaranteed deal with any team. But I always bet on myself," Marquis said. "I'm a baseball fan. I look at the layout of every team. You can't always rely on your agents all the time. You have to do your own research, especially at this stage of your career. I presented them with four or five situations where I thought it would be the best fit, not only for opportunity in the rotation but familiarity with [general manager] Walt Jocketty in St. Louis. [Third base coach] Jim Riggleman was my manager in Washington. [Reds medical director] Tim Kremchek did both my elbow surgeries -- my bone chips and Tommy John surgery."

Marquis is competing with Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeSclafani, Raisel Iglesias, Paul Maholm, David Holmberg and Dylan Axelrod for a spot in the rotation. Lifetime, Marquis is 121-114 with a 4.56 ERA with the Braves, Cardinals, Padres, Nationals, Cubs, Twins, D-backs and Rockies. In 2009 with Colorado, he won 15 games and made the All-Star team.

Reds manager Bryan Price has liked what he's seen from Marquis during the early days of camp.

"I think Jason Marquis, who is a guy I've seen quite often live but never on our side of the field, has been very impressive," Price said. "He's put in a lot of hard work to get back and looks like an in-shape veteran that is here to compete and win a job. That's been terrific."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.