Marlins stockpile arms for spring bullpen battle

Competition includes fifth-starter candidates Phelps, Hand, with lefty out of options

Marlins stockpile arms for spring bullpen battle

JUPITER, Fla. -- Strength in numbers was an objective the Marlins considered when putting together their bullpen. There are no shortage of quality candidates this spring for only a few spots.

"I like our arms," manager Mike Redmond said. "One of the things we talked about this offseason was more depth, and being able to sign some guys who give us that extra depth. I think we've been able to do that."

Those considered locks for seven bullpen spots are closer Steve Cishek, lefty Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Bryan Morris, who is out of options. Two others who are signed to big league contracts are Aaron Crow, acquired from the Royals, and David Phelps, who is also competing for the fifth-starter spot.

If those six are automatic, that leaves one spot for a strong group that also includes Carter Capps and Sam Dyson.

"We don't really evaluate guys until the games start," Redmond said. "We let them go out there and compete and see how it all shakes out."

Brad Hand is in an interesting spot. The lefty is out of options, and he's on the bubble competing for a place in the rotation. If he doesn't win the fifth-starter job, he could find himself in the bullpen.

"When you have guys like him who are out of options and are in the situation he's in, he's got to make the team," Redmond said. "He's got to earn it. It's always nice to have left-handed guys who can do both, start or be in the bullpen."

• Right-hander Kendry Flores, acquired from the Giants in the Casey McGehee trade, has had his visa issue resolved, and he has been working out the past couple of days. Flores had been in the Dominican Republic resolving some paper work. His first bullpen session was Sunday, and the right-hander impressed. Flores projects to open at Double-A Jacksonville.

• Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was expected to arrive in camp on Monday, but Tuesday is the first full-squad workout. The 41-year-old Japanese sensation is scheduled to address the media on Tuesday.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.