MIAMI -- Wade LeBlanc just missed out on a spot in the Marlins' starting rotation coming out of Spring Training. Following the trade of righty Anibal Sanchez to Detroit, LeBlanc will get his opportunity.
A day after Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said LeBlanc would be the likely replacement for Sanchez, who started 19 games this season, manager Ozzie Guillen confirmed the decision to insert the lefty into the rotation.
"He's done a very good job, and that's why I think he earned that spot," Guillen said. "I'm happy to give it to him."
Guillen noted how well LeBlanc has performed in a Marlins uniform dating back to Spring Training, when the lefty led all Marlins starters with a 2.00 ERA and an opponents batting average of .176 in two starts. He also made four relief appearances in Spring Training, bringing his overall ERA during that time to 1.31 in 20 2/3 innings.
Despite that, LeBlanc missed the cut and started the season with Triple-A New Orleans. He started 16 games for the Zephyrs, going 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA before he was promoted on July 1 as a long reliever when Edward Mujica broke a toe.
Since joining the club, LeBlanc has made seven appearances out of the bullpen and hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 frames. He has given up eight hits and walked just one batter while striking out eight.
"As long as I'm here helping this team win, or doing whatever I can to help this team win, I'm happy," LeBlanc said. "As long as they feel like I'm one of the 12 best pitchers, and as long as they feel I can help them up here, whatever they want me to do, I'll do."
His first start of the season -- and first in the Majors since Sept. 28, 2011 -- will come Saturday against the team he last started for, the Padres.
"How about that?" LeBlanc said of starting against his former team. "How would that work out, huh? That's funny."