Former Hoppers’ pitcher Volstad sent down to Marlins’ Triple-A New Orleans

from the Florida Marlins site at

LOS ANGELES — After giving up five runs in only three-plus innings, as the Florida Marlins lost to the Dodgers, 7-3, on Tuesday night, Marlins’ starter Chris Volstad was sent to Triple-A New Orleans.

Volstad has been struggling since early May, having won only once in 11 starts. While he had been showing some signs of turning it around, such issuing only one walk in his last 20 innings, averaging six innings per outing and cutting down the number of home runs after surrendering 29 last season, the wheels came off against the Dodgers.

The biggest problem was that he wasn’t throwing strikes.

“He was getting behind in the count,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez, “and on a team like that, they have good hitters one through nine, and you can’t do that.”

Burke Badenhop was recalled from New Orleans to take Volstad’s place.

The times when Volstad did manage to get the ball over the plate, the Dodgers hitters weren’t being fooled. From Los Angeles’ vantage point, Matt Kemp, who hit a long home run in the third that gave Los Angeles a 4-0 lead, explained what the players were seeing.

“He was just leaving some balls over the middle of the plate,” Kemp said. “We were getting some good swings. We had good at-bats today.”

Kemp had one of three Dodgers homers — two off Volstad. Casey Blake also took the righty deep in the third inning.

By the end of the third, the Marlins were behind, 5-0, and Volstad wasn’t showing any signs of settling down and finding the plate.

“We were trying to go hitter by hitter with him after the third inning,” Rodriguez explained, “but not only did he walk the guy to lead off the inning, but it was on four balls. That wasn’t a good sign.”

Volstad was the first to admit that he was struggling from the very beginning of the game.

“Tonight, obviously I fell behind hitters,” he said. “I think I barely threw half my pitches for strikes.”

He was in fact, a little better than that, but not much. Of the 70 pitches he threw, only 39 were strikes.

As for being sent down, Volstad was understandably disappointed.

“It’s tough,” he said softly. “I want to be here. I think I deserve to be here.”

He also knew that it wasn’t just Tuesday’s poor performance that has him going to New Orleans.

“It wasn’t a good outing, but they said that it wasn’t based on one outing,” Volstad said.

As for what he takes from the demotion, it’s a determination to figure out what he’s doing wrong and fix it.