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Marlins top prospect Andrew Heaney promoted to AAA

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The Miami Marlins are mobilizing their prospects on Tuesday with the promotion of pitcher Andrew Heaney to Triple-A New Orleans. Heaney went 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA in nine starts in Double-A with the Jacksonville Suns.

Heaney confirmed the promotion on Twitter by expressing his excitement of joining the New Orleans Zephyrs but at the same time expressing his sadness of leaving his Jacksonville Suns teammates.

Heaney was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of high school, but chose to play college ball at Oklahoma State. There, he won the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year award in 2012 by leading all NCAA pitchers in strikeouts with 140.

The Marlins drafted him in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Heaney went 9-3 with a 1.60 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings in Single and Double-A last season to earn the recognition of the top left-handed pitching prospect in the Marlins system.

In order to make room for Heaney, the Marlins released reliever Josh Spence. Spence is the second reliever released by the Marlins this season, joining Carlos Marmol who was designated for assignment after the San Diego Padres series and later released.

The 26-year-old Australian pitcher appeared in 11 games, recording a 3.96 ERA with 12 strikeouts. He appeared in the Majors with the Padres in 2011-12 but hasn't reached the show since.

It was obvious that Spence was never going to be part of the Marlins' plan, but the timing could've been better. Spence found out about his release as soon as he arrived to New Orleans from a cross country bus ride from Colorado Springs.

That's life in the minors for you. Spence will likely sign with another Triple-A club. If he performs well enough to warrant a Major League call-up, the MLB team would then have to purchase his contract from the Triple-A franchise.

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