JUPITER, Fla. -- It was just a simulated game, but if the Marlins actually kept score, Steve Cishek would have notched his first save of Spring Training.
The Marlins closer faced four batters in a scoreless inning, recording one strikeout and one walk. For the most part, the sidearm slinging right-hander was sharp. He kept the ball down, induced some weak contact and threw strikes.
Even though Cishek is a closer who is focused on saving games, Tuesday's performance was a personal victory in many ways, mainly because it was his first time facing hitters since camp opened on Feb. 16.
Early on, he missed a few days due to a stiff neck, which occurred by sleeping awkwardly.
Cishek threw the final inning, facing Marcell Ozuna, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Ozuna flied out to left, Saltalamacchia struck out on a slider. Stanton drew a walk, and Hechavarria tapped to third.
"I threw a lot of splits today against righties and lefties," Cishek said. "One that was terrible, the one I threw to Stanton that was in the dirt."
Before striking out Saltalamacchia, Cishek had a slider get away that caused Saltalamacchia to leap out of the way.
It was also encouraging that Cishek kept the ball down.
"That's my bread and butter; keep it down," Cishek said. "It was a good first one."
A year ago, Cishek posted a 2.33 ERA and he saved 34 of 36 chances.
Starting off the spring treating a stiff neck made Cishek eager to face hitters.
"I was just antsy," Cishek said. "This offseason went by quickly. After three weeks, I was ready to see some hitters again and just battle. It was definitely a lot of fun."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter