Ramos' spring debut short and sweet

Marlins closer needs only six pitches in first outing

Ramos' spring debut short and sweet

JUPITER, Fla. -- A.J. Ramos' Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday was a quick one. In a 4-2 loss to the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium, the Marlins closer needed six pitches to record three outs in the ninth inning.

The swift inning provided a chance for Ramos to throw in a real game situation, in a stadium and in front of a crowd. But needing so few pitches didn't give him a chance to truly test himself.

"It's definitely a little bit of an adrenaline bump," Ramos said being back in games. "There is a crowd out there. It's a little more alive out there. You're playing the Nationals. It feels more like a real game than the back fields, so you kind of lock in a little more than a back field."

Early in Spring Training, Ramos dealt with a sore right calf, which caused him to be eased into game action. The 29-year-old simulated games on back fields, but that didn't duplicate what it's like to face big league hitters.

That opportunity came on Wednesday. Ramos' fastball was 91-93 mph, and because of the early contact, he didn't get a chance to work much on his offspeed pitches. In all, he threw five strikes.

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The first batter he faced, Brendan Ryan, swung at the first pitch and lifted a pop foul to the catcher. The next two batters, Pedro Severino and Reed Johnson, were retired on fly balls to the outfield.

"I didn't really get a good feel for my pitches," Ramos said. "I guess it's better than doing horribly."

Manager Don Mattingly said the main takeaway was the experience of facing another team in a stadium atmosphere.

"Getting out there, that's the key," Mattingly said. "Obviously, you want to go out there and have success right away. You really want him to get out there and get this process going."

Ramos saved 32 of 38 opportunities in 2015, and the Marlins will be banking on the right-hander to lock down games once the season gets underway.

"We didn't really have any worries about him, just because he was able to throw the whole time," Mattingly said.

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.