Chen his typical efficient self in Marlins debut

Lefty throws strikes, pitches to contact over two scoreless innings

Chen his typical efficient self in Marlins debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- Wei-Yin Chen came as advertised in his Grapefruit League debut with the Marlins on Saturday afternoon in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The veteran lefty came out throwing strikes, while demonstrating poise over two scoreless innings.

Chen took care of business on 28 pitches, 19 of them strikes. Focused primarily on fastball command, he pounded the zone and induced plenty of soft contact.

"That's kind of the book," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's not afraid to use it. Get it inside. ... All the things you like to hear."

Outlook: Chen, SP, MIA

There wasn't much sizzle in Chen's outing -- no walks or strikeouts. But there was plenty of efficiency and the type of performance the Marlins were seeking when they signed Chen to the richest contract for a pitcher in club history -- five years, $80 million.

"I was a little bit nervous," Chen said. "I haven't pitched in a game in a long time. Coming over to a new team, there was definitely a little bit of nerves out there."

Chen was spotting 90-91 mph fastballs in his initial outing, and he expects to work on his changeup more overall this Spring Training.

"He's a guy you see who knows what he's doing," Mattingly said. "He knows what he wants to come here and try to establish. You see him trying to establish his fastball, using it and trying to get it to both sides of the plate. It was good."

Formerly with the Orioles, the 30-year-old is finding a comfort zone in South Florida. He's being embraced by the organization and his teammates.

The native of Taiwan's translator has yet to arrive to camp. But that didn't prevent Chen from conducting his postgame interview with reporters. Chen, who previously played in Japan, also speaks Japanese. So he used Ichiro Suzuki's translator, Allen Turner, to help him through his interview.

"I think we have a good group of guys, a lot of great teammates here," Chen said. "Obviously, Ichiro is here and [Giancarlo] Stanton. Everybody has been great. I think everybody is coming together. It seems like a good group of guys."

Stanton gave Chen his biggest defensive assist on Saturday, throwing out Brayan Pena at the plate. Pena, who reached second on Martin Prado's error, attempted to score on Jonathan Rodriguez's single to right.

Stanton throws out Pena at home

But Stanton's throw from right field was a perfect strike to catcher J.T. Realmuto, and Pena was out easily.

"When I gave up the hit, I thought it was going to be an automatic run," Chen said. "When I saw him throw him out at home, I was very impressed with his arm."

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