Slowey not stressing out about role on pitching staff

Slowey not stressing out about role on pitching staff

VIERA, Fla. -- As a younger pitcher, the Marlins' Kevin Slowey might be stressing out at this time of year about making a team or securing a certain role. But the 29-year-old said that isn't the case for him this spring, even as he finds himself battling to lock down a spot as the fifth starter or a long reliever.

"I think I've been playing long enough to understand that all I can control is out on the mound, and that's it," Slowey said after pitching three innings of relief against the Nationals in Saturday's split-squad game. "I'm thankful for that wisdom and those years of competing. I'd say in the early years of my career, I'd be fretting about what to do and how to do it and who's doing what and what they're thinking.

"But this organization has proven to be able to put together world championship teams and they know what they're doing. My hope is I can have a role, whatever that might be with them."

Slowey came in for starter Henderson Alvarez and pitched two scoreless frames before encountering trouble in the seventh. Adam LaRoche led off with what appeared to be a wind-aided home run to left field, and Danny Espinosa followed with a homer to right-center.

Slowey finished with two runs and three hits allowed, walking none and striking out two. Despite the homers, he was happy with the outing and how his spring has gone as a whole.

"I think every time they give me the ball, my goal is to be able to throw strikes and for them to see I'm 100 percent healthy and also have the ability to eat up innings whenever they need me to in whatever role that might be," Slowey said. "That's been the goal all spring, and I feel I've been able to accomplish that."

As for Alvarez, he struck out Denard Span, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman within his first four batters and finished with four whiffs in four innings. The righty gave up five hits, one walk and two runs (one earned). He lowered his spring ERA to 1.84.

"He's got good stuff," catcher Jeff Mathis said. "As far as fastball goes, he throws a four-seamer, two-seamer and he's developing a pretty good changeup. And when you have that to go along with the slider, I don't care what lineup it is, if he's on, he's going to be good."

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