Ellington shows off fastball, intrigues Marlins

Ellington shows off fastball, intrigues Marlins

MIAMI -- With one right-handed reliever who throws in the upper-90s sidelined for the next couple of weeks, the Marlins are getting their first look at another.

Brian Ellington -- selected from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday when Carter Capps went on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain -- made his Major League debut in Monday's 12-1 loss against the Mets, throwing a scoreless innings. He then logged 1 1/3 more, striking out one in Tuesday's 5-1 defeat.

On Monday, the rookie escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth -- striking out two, walking one, hitting one batter and allowing one hit. Battling nerves and adrenaline, Ellington's fastball was routinely in the high-90s, reaching as high as 98 mph.

"He was amped up a bit -- maybe a little bit of butterflies -- but he managed to maintain it," manager Dan Jennings said prior to Tuesday night's contest. "He created his trouble and got out. It was a good sign to see."

Ellington is a homegrown product for the Marlins, as he was a 16th-round selection in the 2012 Draft out of the University of West Florida.

After compiling a 4.75 ERA in 2014 at Class A Advanced Jupiter, the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder turned the corner this season. He went 4-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 43 innings for Double-A Jacksonville (striking out 47 and walking 13), before tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his one appearance for New Orleans prior to joining Miami.

Jennings said the Marlins are certainly intrigued by Ellington and his power fastball, adding that they like his "power curveball" as well -- which he used to strikeout Lucas Duda to escape Monday's jam.

"It's a power arm, and if you look at pieces at the back end of a bullpen that are successful, there's -- more times than not -- power arms," Jennings said. "If he can bring that ... you know he's going to calm himself down a bit -- it was his debut -- so he'll get another look."

Ellington, who turned 25 on Tuesday, was a standout in the Arizona Fall League last year. And in the Minors this season, his fastball reached 100 mph.

He opened his big league debut by striking out Michael Conforto with a 98-mph heater. He then loaded the bases before striking out Duda with a full-count curveball.

"I got a little bit more comfortable as the inning went on," Ellington said. "At the beginning, I had a lot of adrenaline going through me, so it was hard to relax and just let it happen. But I was able to get out of the inning, so I was happy about that."

Afterward, Ellington was given the ball he threw to record his first strikeout. But before the game, he was given the bullpen backpack to wear, since he's the reliever with the least MLB experience -- not that he minded the procedure.

"If I can play baseball up here with the rest of these guys, I'll carry it the rest of my career," Ellington said. "It wouldn't bother me a bit. Just happy to be here and happy for the opportunity."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.