The Marlins continued to make offseason roster moves, outrighting Jay Buente to New Orleans on Thursday.
Buente began the year in the Zephyrs’ bullpen, recording a 2.70 ERA in 19 appearances before receiving his first big league promotion on May 26th. He had trouble finding the strike zone in the majors, walking eight batters in 5.1 innings over four games before being returned to New Orleans on June 20th. After only one more outing with the Zephyrs, Buente was sent to Double-A Jacksonville to try his hand at starting, but was injured in his first start and missed more than a month.
He went back to relieving upon returning to Jacksonville in August and gave up just two runs in 13 innings, then pitched in four more games with the Marlins in September. In 55 games with the Z’s over the last two years, Buente is 5-2 with a 3.15 ERA.
The Florida Marlins named their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, with Jacksonville Suns teammates taking home the honors.
Shortstop Ozzie Martinez was named Minor League Player of the Year, after batting .302 with a .372 on-base percentage in helping the Suns successfully defend their Southern League crown. The league leader in runs (90), Martinez played for the World Team during the Futures Game, and was called up to the Marlins in September after the Suns’ playoff run, hitting .326 in 14 games.
Elih Villanueva went 14-4 with a 2.26 ERA in 179 innings over 28 starts for the Suns, and pitched a no-hitter on August 11th. He threw four complete games, including three shutouts, and led the league in ERA.
Barring trades, both Martinez and Villanueva stand a good chance of beginning 2011 with New Orleans.
The Marlins announced today that they have outrighted Donnie Murphy to New Orleans while giving him an invitation to spring training in 2011.
Murphy was one of the most consistent Zephyrs over the first half of the season, batting .277 with 12 homers and 35 RBI in 57 games. After a promotion to Florida in early-July, Murphy played well and delivered several clutch hits off the bench before breaking his wrist while making a catch in shallow right field on September 1st. He hopes to be completely healed by the time spring training opens in mid-February.
Meanwhile, Taylor Tankersley, Hector Luna and Mike Rivera, who were all outrighted to New Orleans last week, were granted free agency. Rivera signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ryan Tucker, who this season became the second Zephyr to make consecutive Opening Day starts, saw his often-tumultuous tenure with the Florida Marlins organization come to an end on Wednesday, when the Texas Rangers claimed him off waivers.
Despite those back-to-back Opening Day assignments, Tucker made just 11 starts for the Z’s over two seasons, going 1-7 with a 6.75 ERA. His time in New Orleans was limited by knee and oblique injuries in 2009, and a dispute with the coaching staff in 2010. His final start with the Zephyrs came on May 17, when he allowed seven runs on six hits and four walks in three innings, and argued with umpires while leaving the field.
He did not pitch again for a month, and spent most of the remainder of the season with Class A Jupiter, where he posted a 6.00 ERA in 23 relief appearances.
Also on Wednesday, the Marlins outrighted outfielder Brett Carroll, left-hander Taylor Tankersley, right-hander Tim Wood,
infielder Hector Luna and catcher Mike Rivera to New Orleans.