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Marlins Call Up 37-Year-Old Rookie

May 11, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ Reliever Joe Strong finally made it to the major leagues at age 37 when the Florida Marlins recalled him Thursday from Triple-A Calgary.

Strong spent 11 years in the minor leagues with five organizations and pitched in the Orient for six years. He joins the youngest team in baseball, and several Marlins were surprised to learn his age.

When he makes his debut, Strong will be the oldest rookie pitcher since 41-year-old Diomedes Olivo with Pittsburgh in 1960.

``A lot of them can’t believe it _ `How old are you? No way!‴ Strong said. ``I’m floating.″

In 333 minor-league games, Strong has a record of 49-56 with an ERA of 4.18. Last year alone, he pitched in Triple-A Durham, Double-A Orlando and Mexico City of the Mexican League. This year he was 1-1 at Calgary with a 4.67 ERA and three saves in 10 games.

The Marlins also recalled right-handed rookie Jason Grilli from Calgary to start Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The Marlins placed reliever Ricky Bones (strained back) on the disabled list retroactive to May 6, and they placed outfielder Mark Smith on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow.

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