It took Florida Marlins right-hander Jay Buente almost four years to reach the Majors. From the way he's started 2011, it appears he doesn't intend to wait that long for his next shot at the big leagues.
The 27-year-old continued his impressive start to the year, tossing his first complete game in the New Orleans Zephyrs' 8-1 victory over the Iowa Cubs on Monday.
The converted reliever allowed a run on Brad Snyder's RBI single in the seventh inning, but he retired the final nine batters for his second victory of the year. The run was the first he had allowed in 20 innings dating back to the Zephyrs' 12-8 loss to the Albuquerque Isotopes on April 23.
Buente (2-0), who faced the minimum through four innings and struck out nine, lowered his ERA to a Pacific Coast League-best 1.26 in the win.
Selected in the 14th round of the 2006 Draft, the Purdue product made five relief appearances to begin the year before moving into the rotation. Prior to this season, Buente had only previously made four starts -- one with Jacksonville last year and three with Jamestown back in '06.
Buente's transformation from bullpen to starter has been a smooth one. He has allowed three runs over 27 innings across his four starts, and he has fanned 26 batters while yielding 14 hits and a pair of walks.
For the season, the Indianapolis native has 38 strikeouts in 35 2/3 Triple-A innings, and he has not walked more than one batter in any of his nine appearances.
In 2010, Buente went 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA over 34 appearances across three levels. He made four appearances in relief for Florida in May and June before being sent back down to New Orleans. He played in four more games as a September callup.
Buente didn't post a record with the Marlins with a 6.55 ERA over his eight outings. He surrendered 16 hits and issued 11 walks while striking out nine over 11 innings.