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Marlins' 20-year-old Eury Pérez to debut Friday as club's youngest pitcher ever

FILE -Miami Marlins relief pitcher Eury Perez throws during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Jupiter, Fla. Miami's top prospect Eury Pérez will make his Major League debut Friday, May 12, 2023 when the Marlins host Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

MIAMI (AP) — At 6-foot-8, Miami Marlins prospect Eury Pérez towers above most pitchers.

The right-hander’s combination of size, control and maturity has made him one of the most intriguing prospects in baseball — a prodigy so young he was an infant when the Marlins last won the World Series in 2003, and so good he’s leaping from Double-A to the majors.

Pérez will make his major league debut Friday when the Miami hosts Cincinnati. At 20 years, 27 days, he’ll become the youngest pitcher in the club’s history and the only MLB player born after 2002.

“When you’re looking at him, he’s throwing all his pitches for strikes. He’s commanding his pitches,” Marlins general manager Kim Ng said, “and so those are the things that you really make sure he can do before he gets here, and he’s shown that.”

Injuries to left-hander Trevor Rogers and right-hander Johnny Cueto made room for Pérez, who is rated by MLB pipeline as the No. 10 overall prospect and third-best right-hander. He was called up from Double-A Pensacola on Wednesday.

“He gave us great confidence in his ability to come up here and do well,” Ng said. “In terms of the rotation, we’re at a spot where Trevor and Johnny are going to be out for a bit and thought it made sense.”

Pérez was 4 inches shorter — 6-4 and 175 pounds — when the Marlins signed him for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic four years ago. By the time Pérez made his pandemic-delayed pro debut in 2021, he'd grown to his current height and put on 45 pounds.

Pérez is 3-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 31 innings for Pensacola. His fastball sits between 94-97 mph and has topped out at 100. It reached 99 mph in last summer’s Futures game.

Pérez — born on April 15, 2003 — will be Miami’s youngest pitcher since the late José Fernández, who made his 2013 debut at 20 years, 250 days.

“I think we have to temper the expectations a little bit,” manager Skip Schumaker said after Miami’s 5-4 win over Arizona. “He’s 20 years old. He’s supposed to be a junior in college, and he’s going to be facing the Reds. So I think we have to just slow down in expectations a little bit. But he’s earned it. It’s not just because we needed somebody. He’s earned this position.”

Schumaker said Pérez, who has worked at most six innings in a game, will have his pitches and innings limited.

“We’ll monitor it,” Schumaker said. “We’re going to protect him. There’s no doubt about it, but we’re going try to win games, too.”

Miami is second in the NL East at 19-19, including a 12-0 record in one-run games, the best start to a season in major league history in that category.

GETTING THE NEWS

Sitting in the office of Pensacola manager Kevin Randel, Pérez was notified of his promotion via a video from Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara.

“My brother, do you think you’re ready to pitch in the majors?” Alcantara told Pérez in Spanish. “I’m happy for you, an opportunity well deserved. I’ll see you soon.”

BIG NIGHT IN SOUTH FLORIDA

Pérez will make his debut on the same night the Miami Heat host the New York Knicks with the chance to close out their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Heat lead 3-2. The Florida Panthers will also play in a potential clincher, up 3-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

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