Terance Marin freely admits to weighing all of 155 pounds, even though milb.com still insists the Modesto-born 2007 graduate of Orestimba High School goes 170.
But what’s 155 pounds when Marin can generate 96-mph fastballs with that gangly body and right arm.
Marin, still sporting shoulder-length hair and a thick beard, allowed two unearned runs in six innings Saturday and earned his second Caribbean Series win in five days as Mexico defeated the Dominican Republic 5-4 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to advance to the championship game.
Looking for its third consecutive title and fourth in five years, Mexico (3-2) faces Cuba today. Mexico is looking for its third consecutive title and fourth in five years.
Frederich Cepeda went 4 for 4 and drove in five runs to lead Cuba over Venezuela 8-4 in the other semifinal. The Cubans had won only one previous game in the tournament going into this semifinal while Venezuela was undefeated.
Marin, 25, was watching that semifinal while he reflected on a 2014 season that saw him get released and re-signed by the Chicago White Sox – who originally signed the former Modesto JC Pirate as a free agent in July 2010 – and then join the Mexican winter league for the first time.
Marin pitched as a starter and reliever for the Advanced-A Winston-Salem Dash and Double-A Birmingham Barons last season and compiled a collective 4-5 record with a 4.34 ERA. He struck out 72, walked 18 and had a 1.36 WHIP in 83 innings.
Playing in the Mexican Pacific League this winter taught Marin a valuable lesson he can take into spring training (Marin reports to the White Sox’s camp March 2 in Glendale, Ariz.):
“Fastballs are not a go-to pitch here,” Marin said. “You want to pitch backward. It took me a little adjusting.”
Marin brings a little more heat today than he did in 2008, when he played for Modesto Babe Ruth. Marin said his fastball lives in the 92- to 94-mph zone, though he has touched 96 mph, including in the Caribbean Series.
On Monday, Marin earned the win against Cuba with 22/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. On Saturday, he allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three, and exited after the Dominican Republic scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“I was working both sides of the plate the best I can, trying to keep them off balance,” Marin said.
Marin battled injuries in 2014 but said his arm is fresh.
“I’m really not that tired, not as tired as I thought I would be,” he said.
There is still one other adjustment Marin will be required to make before reporting to spring training. The White Sox don’t allow hair past the shoulders.
Said Marin, “Gotta clean it up.”
The Associated Press contributed
to this report.