JUPITER, Fla. -- The getting-acquainted process for Marlins right-hander Dan Straily is more than just interacting and practicing daily with his new teammates. Game experience builds an entirely different bond.
Straily entered that setting for the first time on Sunday, throwing a scoreless first inning in the Marlins' 7-4 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
The 28-year-old right-hander allowed two singles, recorded a strikeout and threw 18 pitches (13 strikes). Aside from drills, Straily also worked for the first time in a game environment with catcher A.J. Ellis.
"The main goal for what we're doing right now is starting to develop that pitcher-catcher relationship," Straily said.
The Marlins acquired Straily from the Reds in January and signed Ellis as a free agent. The two were mostly on the same page on Sunday.
"If it's either good or bad, it's not going to be any different with me," manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, unless he can't throw a strike or something like that. More than anything, get that inning under your belt. Get into that routine. It's more towards getting ready for April."
Straily is a strong candidate to be the fifth starter.
The right-hander put together a strong 2016 season with the Reds, going 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA. Miami had tried to acquire him last July. Miami is seeking durable starters, and Straily fit the mold. He threw 191 1/3 innings last year.
"There's not really anything into looking into results or anything," Straily said. "It's getting things going."
In Miami, Straily will have the benefit of pitching in cavernous Marlins Park. It will be a change from hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
"I'm a fly ball pitcher," Straily said. "Obviously the ballpark I'm in is going to make a difference. It's just one of those things where I can just go in there and compete."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.