ST. PETERSBURG -- Marlins rookies Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto both made their Major League debuts Thursday. And manager Mike Redmond was as excited about it as his two players.
"This is the fun part of managing -- being able to watch guys in their Major League debuts," Redmond said before Bour, Realmuto and the rest of the Marlins took the field in the Citrus Series finale against the Rays. "This is something they'll never forget. I told them to just relax and have fun. Just allow their ability and talent to come forward.
"Over the last year or so, we've had the opportunity to bring a lot of guys to the Major Leagues for their first at-bat or to pitch up here for the first time."
Bour, the 26-year-old, 6-foot-4, 250-pound power-hitting left-handed first baseman who was selected from the Cubs in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December, was in Thursday's starting lineup as the designated hitter, batting seventh.
"He's certainly big and strong," Redmond said as he watched Bour loosen up before the game.
Bour, who was called up on Wednesday when struggling second baseman Derek Dietrich was sent to the Minor Leagues, was batting .330 in 55 games with nine home runs and 36 RBIs at Triple-A New Orleans. Bour will give the Marlins a much-needed left-handed bat off the bench and provide some depth at first base behind Garrett Jones. The Marlins play two games against the Rangers next week in Texas, where they will also be able to use a DH.
With Jarrod Saltalamacchia sidelined indefinitely because of a concussion, Realmuto, the Marlins' starting catcher Thursday, was called up from Double-A Jacksonville to back up Jeff Mathis behind the plate.
The 23-year-old Realmuto was batting .301 with 14 doubles, three triples and five homers at Jacksonville when he was called up. He was sixth in the Southern League in RBIs with 31, and second in slugging (.503).
"Mathis has caught four days in a row, so this seemed like the perfect spot for him [Realmuto] to get in there," Redmond said.
"I have confidence in all those guys. We're going to need 'em all."
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.