Hand impresses while waiting for roster fate

Part of no-no in Panama, lefty has 0.75 spring ERA, could make rotation, 'pen

Hand impresses while waiting for roster fate

JUPITER, Fla. -- Brad Hand was part of a combined no-hitter against the Yankees on Saturday in Panama, but the left-hander is unsure if he will be on the Marlins' Opening Day roster in a couple of weeks.

Out of options, Hand is fighting for a spot either in the rotation or bullpen. If he is not part of the team's plans, the lefty will likely be a trade piece.

Hand is certainly making a case to open the season in Miami. He has an 0.75 ERA and has struck out 15 in 12 innings, while walking just two. Against the Yankees, the 23-year-old struck out six in five innings.

"That's the best I've seen him," manager Mike Redmond said. "There was a tremendous atmosphere, 27,000 people in Panama. He was in complete control."

Hand, Steve Cishek, A.J. Ramos and Arquimedes Caminero combined on the Spring Training no-hitter in a 5-0 Miami win.

The Marlins arrived back in Jupiter around 11:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, and on Monday, it was business as usual. The club is in the process of putting together its roster, and Hand is firmly in the mix for a rotation spot with Tom Koehler and Kevin Slowey. All three are candidates to start or pitch in long relief.

It appears the club may only be able to carry two, not all three.

"I can't really control anything," Hand said. "I've just got to keep going out there and pitch. Obviously, I'm trying to make this ballclub and I want to be part of this team. I've just got to go out there and pitch, and whatever happens happens."

Hand stepped up in a game that featured an energized atmosphere. Pregame, they had a tribute to Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees were the fan favorites.

"I've never pitched in winter ball, but they said that's what winter ball was like," Hand said. "They did a little ceremony for Mariano. I was out there in the outfield warming up. 'Enter Sandman' came on, and he came in from right field to throw the first pitches. Everybody was going crazy.

"It was like regular-season feel, when you've got 30,000 fans yelling and screaming. We got there at 4 o'clock and people were out there already."

When it came time to play, Hand was certainly ready. In the past, the lefty has had issues with command, but he's been able to throw strikes this spring.

"My changeup has been working really well this spring," he said. "That's been the biggest part of where I've struggled, getting behind hitters, walking guys. That's one of the big things I've been working on, getting ahead and staying ahead.

"I feel like last year I really made some big moves, and I was really starting to throw a lot more strikes. Walks were down. I started getting ahead. Maybe a little bit of confidence, going out there saying, 'Here it is.' Throw it middle-down and let them hit it."

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