MIAMI GARDENS -- Brad Hand's mother and sister extended vacation after they heard the news that Hand was being called up from Double-A Jacksonville and would make his major league debut Tuesday against the Braves.
"It is pretty exciting. Overwhelming right now," the 21-year-old Hand said Monday as he settled into the Marlins clubhouse.
Hand said his mother and sister had flown to Jacksonville to watch him for the first time this season, and when he gave them the news Sunday night that he was joining the Marlins they took some extra days off work so they could be at Sun Life Stadium for his debut.
Hand was in his fourth season in the minors, and his 7-1 record and 3.53 ERA put him on top of the list of four minor league pitchers the Marlins were considering to replace Josh Johnson in the rotation.
"First, he has been the most consistent pitcher in the minor leagues," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said about why Hand was tabbed. "Second, he is a left hander. He has a very good arm, throws 92 to 93 which is more than fine here, and mentally, I think he is prepared for this."
Hand will be the first left-hander to start for the Marlins this season. Johnson remains on the disabled list and will probably miss his next two starts.
Hand's debut will be four years to the day since he was drafted in the second round by the Marlins out of Chaska High School near Minneapolis, Minn. Hand (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) received a $760,000 signing bonus.
He was invited to the Marlins spring training camp this season for the first time, and was 7-0 in his last 10 starts at Jacksonville.
"I am throwing really well," Hand said. "I am cutting down on walks, which was one of my biggest issues." Hand has 27 walks and 44 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings pitched this season, and has seven walks in 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts, with 17 strikeouts.
Hand said Jacksonville manager Andy Parkett called him in before the Sun's game Sunday against Birmingham and said he wanted to go over Birmingham's lineup with him because they had been hitting the Suns hard.
"Then he said Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones, and I was kind of confused, and then he got a big smile on his face and said, 'You are pitching in the big leagues Tuesday,' " Hand said about how he was told he was being called up.
Hand said he expects he will be nervous, but knows what his approach will be. "Just keep pitching like I have been, not change anything, and just go out there and attack the hitters," Hand said.
Rodriguez said if Hand gives them five innings it would be a successful outing. "Keep us in the game," is what he said he is hoping Hand can do.
And Rodriguez said he will also have be quick to get Hand off the mound if things go badly.
"If he doesn't get it done by the third inning, I am going to take him out. I am not going to let him go out there and get abused," Rodriguez said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun