Starter LeBlanc ready to help Marlins out of 'pen

Starter LeBlanc ready to help Marlins out of 'pen

Starter LeBlanc ready to help Marlins out of 'pen
MILWAUKEE -- If the decision was based on Spring Training performance, Wade LeBlanc clearly would have opened the regular season with the Marlins.

It didn't work out that way, because the Marlins already had their rotation set, and the club felt LeBlanc was better off pitching every fifth day at Triple-A New Orleans than coming out of the bullpen in long relief in the big leagues.

But after Edward Mujica was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his right pinky toe, the team needed bullpen help.

LeBlanc, who was starting and performing well at Triple-A, got the call. The left-hander arrived in Miami at noon ET on Sunday, about 70 minutes before the Marlins completed a three-game sweep of the Phillies. Afterward, he gathered himself again and made the flight with the club to Milwaukee.

For now, LeBlanc's role is as a long reliever.

"The big thing for guys when they get sent down is they think there are some things they have to do differently," LeBlanc said. "In my mind, there wasn't anything I had to do differently. I just had to maintain what I had going in Spring Training. I think for the most part I was able to do that, with the exception of a couple of rough outings."

Acquired from the Padres for catcher John Baker last fall, LeBlanc was statistically Miami's top pitcher in Spring Training, posing a 2-1 record with a 1.31 ERA, striking out 19 in 20 2/3 innings.

The 27-year-old was 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 16 Triple-A starts. He struck out 91 and walked 20 in 98 2/3 innings.

What did he focus on at New Orleans?

"Basically to stay aggressive and not to do anything differently than what I did in Spring Training," the lefty said.

LeBlanc has 54 games of big league experience, with just two appearances out of the bullpen.

"I'll handle anything they throw at me," he said. "Wherever they want me to go, whatever they want me to do, I'll do. I'm just happy to be here. And happy they think I can help this club.

"It's always fun to come back and see all the guys and feel like part of the team, where hopefully they feel you belong."