D-backs' Marshall relishes return to normalcy

D-backs' Marshall relishes return to normalcy

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The overwhelming emotions were gone as were the multitude of cameras when D-backs reliever Evan Marshall entered Monday's game against the Mariners.

Marshall suffered a near fatal injury last year when he was struck in the head by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Reno and his return to the mound for the first time in a game situation last Friday drew plenty of attention and some tears.

D-backs Spring Training info

Now, though, he's just glad to be focused on baseball.

"Today there's no major milestone," Marshall said. "It's just a good outing, a good chance to get out and throw the ball. They hit it on the ground, I like seeing that."

Marshall faced three batters and got a pair of groundouts to go with a strikeout.

"I'll never be able to put it all the way behind me," Marshall said of the incident. "But now that I'm back pitching in real games, I'll just kind of let it fade into the distance and focus on what I have to do to help make this ballclub better."

Marshall, 25, was outstanding for the D-backs in 2014 when he compiled a 2.74 ERA in 57 games, but last year struggled to a 6.08 ERA before being demoted to Reno.

The way he's pitched so far in two spring outings puts him squarely in the mix for the final open spot in the Arizona bullpen.

Mariners pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., who was the D-backs' bullpen coach last year and worked in the Minor League system when Marshall was there, noticed the difference right away.

"Mel Stottlemyre just said he was amazed at how awesome he looked," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Like he did two years ago. He's back throwing the way Marshall can throw."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.