By: Matthew Osborne
Monday evening, Jacksonville Suns outfielder Jake Marisnick was playing baseball in the Southern League at Smokies Park in Kodak, Tennessee.
Tuesday evening, Marisnick will be playing in a Major League Baseball game at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.
TRANSACTION: Marlins option Derek Dietrich & Marcell Ozuna to AA. Christian Yelich (#21) & Jake Marisnick (#23) to be selected tomorrow.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 23, 2013
Marisnick and Suns teammate Christian Yelich were both pulled from Monday evening’s game between the Suns and Smokies after their third inning at bats.
Although a pitch from Smokies’ starter Kyle Hendricks hit Marisnick, an injury is not the reason why he and Yelich were pulled. They were pulled so they could pack their bags and catch a flight. They were headed to Colorado.
The two players were seen hugging their Jacksonville teammates in the dugout. As Miami Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest discussed with the media last night, the decision was made prior to the game.
“We wanted to get them a couple at-bats,” Beinfest explained. “It was part of the program. We were wondering if you guys would catch onto it. We said two at-bats tonight then pull them. We wanted them to get a couple at-bats instead of just sitting.”
Yelich and Marisnick have been the top of the Suns’ lineup all season with both players spending time in the lead off spot. Marisnick described the players’ roles as hitting lead off and second has helped both players grow.
“It’s a lot of fun either way,” Marisnick said. “He (Yelich) can get on base for me or the other way around; I can get on base for him. I think we kind of feed off each other, watching what each other does. Pushing each other on the field and off the field.”
[TO WATCH YELICH AND MARISNICK GO BACK-TO-BACK ON THE SMOKIES, CLICK HERE]
Marisnick came to the Marlins organization this past off-season as a member of the trade that sent former Marlins Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays sent back shortstop Yunel Escobar, along with Suns pitchers Anthony Nicolino and Anthony Desclafani.
Baseball America ranks Marisnick as the fourth best prospect in the Marlins’ organization, while MLB.com ranks him second, behind Yelich.
This season, two other Suns players were called up to the Marlins as Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich made their major league debuts. For Marisnick, watching other players getting called up pushed him to become a better baseball player.
“It’s kind of just motivation,” Marisnick said. “You see it any day, so you just kind of focus on what you’re doing day-to-day and just keep working. It’s kind of out of your control when you get called up, or if you get called up, so you just go out and take care of business on the field every day wherever you are at.”
Marisnick began the 2013 season with the Marlins’ high-A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads. He was called up to Jacksonville after just three games.
In 93 games with the Suns, Marisnick batted .294 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. He was named a 2013 Southern League All-Star and played in last week’s Southern League All Star Game in Jacksonville.
Before being called up, Marisnick was motivated to get the big leagues. When asked about he was doing to get better and prepare himself for the eventual call-up, his approach to batting was key.
“Just trying to narrow down an approach at the plate,” Marisnick said. “At times, I can get a little long or try to do too much and I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job at just staying within myself and getting a good pitch to hit.”
Marisnick’s call-up to Major League Baseball will come Tuesday night at Coors Field.
He will leave the Smoky Mountains and the Southern League and move west to the Rocky Mountains and the National League East.
Alongside teammate Christian Yelich, he will don the orange and blue of the Miami Marlins for the first time patrolling a section of the outfield Tuesday night.
To stay current with all the latest news, follow Smokies on Radio on Twitter and like the Smokies on Radio Facebook page. Matthew Osborne is a Broadcast and Media Intern for the Smokies Radio Network. You can follow Matthew on Twitter here: @themindoftheoz