Miami Marlins spring training observations: Sixto Sanchez’s live BP session and more

Miami Marlins Sixto Sanchez (45) pitches during Miami Marlins pitchers and catchers spring training workout at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

Sixto Sanchez had a smile on his face in the clubhouse.

The Miami Marlins’ right-handed pitcher, still trying to return to form after three lost seasons due to an assortment of injuries, threw his first live batting practice session of spring training on Wednesday. He threw 20 pitches — mixing in his fastball, changeup and cutter — and faced second baseman Luis Arraez, third baseman Jake Burger, shortstop Jon Berti, outfielder Avisail Garcia and catcher Bennett Hostetler.

“It was awhile,” Sanchez said, “a couple of years without pitching like that. Throwing this live BP was great. I felt happy. I felt well. It was like before.”

“Before” feels almost like an eternity for Sanchez.

He hasn’t appeared in an MLB game since starting Game 3 of the Marlins’ National League Division Series matchup with the Braves in the 2020 playoffs.

Since then, Sanchez has had two shoulder surgeries and has thrown just one inning in a game setting — a scoreless frame for the Double A Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Sept. 12.

He still looks far from the top prospect the Marlins acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in the J.T. Realmuto trade ahead of the 2019 season.

But any step forward is a positive one for Sanchez, who is out of minor-league options and needs to make the big-league team out of camp to stay on the 40-man roster.

“If you’re asking me, it’s not the same Sixto to this point,” Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said Sunday. “And I say that because I know what it looked like before when I had him.”

The next step will be to see how Sanchez performs in a live game. Grapefruit League play begins Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ryan Weathers gets first spring start

Marlins manager Skip Schumaker on Wednesday announced that left-handed pitcher Ryan Weathers will start Miami’s first spring training on Saturday.

Weathers will most likely throw two innings.

Weathers, acquired at the MLB trade deadline last season from the San Diego Padres for pitcher prospect Sean Reynolds and first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Cooper, is one of Miami’s starting pitching depth options competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

“My job is go out there and throw the ball the best I can,” Weathers said. “There’s a lot of stuff I can’t control. What I can control is how I go about my business every day and just go throw the ball well. We’re just all here to win ballgames. It takes the whole 40-man roster to win ballgames. So just gotta keep doing that.”

More observations

Left-handed pitcher Braxton Garrett (shoulder soreness) still has not thrown a bullpen session in camp. The Marlins are being cautious with him.

Vidal Brujan and Xavier Edwards have alternated between getting reps at second base and shortstop in the early days of spring. The rest of the infield for the main has been as expected: Josh Bell and Trey Mancini at first base, Arraez at second, Berti at shortstop and Burger at third.

Utility player Nick Gordon has gotten most of his looks early in left field.