Marlins farmhand McGough of Plum gets 1st taste of Triple-A ball

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Hard-throwing right-hander Scott McGough walked off the mound and into the dugout last Wednesday night after an inning of relief for the Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins.

He wasn't quite ready for this changeup.

“I walk in, and my skipper shakes my hand and says, ‘Good job tonight. You're going up to Triple-A. You leave in the morning,' ” McGough said.

Two nights later, McGough was starting for the New Orleans Zephyrs in the second game of a doubleheader at Oklahoma City.

“It was crazy,” said McGough, 23, a Plum native who played college baseball at Oregon. “I was still in game mode here. Things like that sort of catch you off-guard.”

So goes on-the-fly life in the minor leagues, where it all can change in a split-second.

But is this really a promotion? Sort of. It's more along the lines of a temporary call-up.

“Happens all the time to a lot of guys,” McGough said. “It just happens so fast, you don't hear about it.”

Normally a reliever, McGough has been told he'll be a spot-starter for the Zephyrs — think a doctor with a pager by his side — but will return to Double-A in the meantime.

Always laid-back and taking the next step on stride — he still catches with his father when he comes home — McGough is ready for anything.

“It was a nice little vacation,” said McGough, who pitched three innings and allowed six hits in a 5-0 loss in his Triple-A debut. “I was able to get my feet wet.”

Just before his bump, he was added to the Southern League All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Jacksonville.

McGough (6-foot, 170 pounds) is 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA for the Suns, all out of the bullpen. He has 42 strikeouts and 13 walks.

The start for New Orleans was rare to say the least.

McGough's last start prior to Friday?

“I started three times in my life before that,” he said. “One was in 10th grade against Gateway, and the other two were in college against Hawaii and Fresno State.

“It's refreshing (to start). Usually when I come into the game there's runners at second and third and one out.

“At the same time, I took my first breath in when I got out there and thought, ‘if I screw this up, it's on me'.”

McGough's minor league journey has been somewhat extensive over a short period of time.

He has been with six teams in six leagues since being drafted in the fifth round by the Dodgers in 2011. Initially drafted by the Pirates in the 46th round in 2008, he was traded to Miami a year ago.

More roster alterations, no matter how slight, could mean the Marlins might have plans to move players again. McGough knows he could be one of them.

“It's been a weird journey,” McGough said. “It's been a unique one, for sure. I am still a young pup in the minors, but I feel like a seasoned veteran.

“It's been a great experience. It's great to have your name called when they need you. You have to be ready for anything.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

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