Flynn pleased with first Grapefruit League start

Flynn pleased with first Grapefruit League start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brian Flynn got back on the mound as a starting pitcher on Tuesday, and he was pleased with the early returns. Flynn, who had struggled to find his rhythm and his mechanics in two relief appearances, fired three scoreless innings in the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.

Flynn, acquired from the Tigers along with Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner in a 2012 trade that sent Anibal Sanchez to Detroit, is on the fringe of the battle for the fifth-starter's slot with the Marlins. The left-hander said Tuesday that he had been anticipating his start and was thrilled with the way it went.

"I was definitely looking forward to that," Flynn said. "It definitely paid off today, just having a time frame that you're comfortable with. Get on the mound, come in the dugout, sit down for a little bit. Just the routine was really comfortable, but at the same time, I think if I would've brought the stuff I had in the last two outings to today, it would've turned out just the same. You've got to get outs either way."

Flynn, who allowed four earned runs in four innings in his first two spring outings, was all but unhittable against the Red Sox. Boston started several regulars, including David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia and David Ross, but Flynn escaped three innings and allowed only one baserunner.

Flynn, just 23 years old, needed that kind of challenge. The former seventh-round draftee logged an 0-2 record and an 8.50 ERA in four late-season starts with the Marlins last season, but he logged a 2.63 ERA in 27 starts split between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans.

Now, facing the defending World Series champions, Flynn just wanted to find himself.

"Today, I really wanted to get my rhythm down," said Flynn. "My arm's been dragging behind me. Everything's just a little off mechanically. Today, I wanted to throw a lot of fastballs, pound the strike zone with the fastball. That's what I tried to do today. Today was a good day for me, because I could feel when I was throwing high, felt why and make the adjustment to get it back down."

Flynn retired three big leaguers -- Grady Sizemore, Pedroia and Ortiz -- in order in the first inning, and then he got Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts in the second. Jonathan Herrera got Boston's only hit against Flynn, but he was subsequently thrown out trying to steal second base.

"It was definitely his best outing of the spring," said manager Mike Redmond. "It looked like his tempo was good and he had some nice downward tilt to his fastball. He got some relatively easy outs. That was good. That was the best I've seen him, probably maybe even including last year during the regular season. He looked like he had command of his offspeed pitches and pounded the strike zone."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter