MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - INSIDE PITCH
MIAMI — The Marlins lost again on Monday, this time 5-1 to the Chicago Cubs, and they sent their deposed closer, Steve Cishek, down to the minors just a few months after he closed 2014 with 39 saves.
You might understandably conclude that this was yet another bad day for the Marlins — but it wasn’t.
Monday was actually a very good one for the Marlins — but not because of anything that happened on a big-league ballpark.
No, the really good stuff was happening two hours north of Miami, on a minor-league field in Jupiter, where Jose Fernandez made his first mound appearance since he had Tommy John surgery early last season.
In a word, Fernandez was brilliant, firing his fastball from 94 to 97 mph. He pitched three no-hit scoreless innings, allowing just one walk and striking out seven.
The Marlins have had a miserable season so far, falling from expectations. But the thought of their pitching staff getting fully healthy gives the franchise hope.
As of now, their top four pitchers are on the disabled list, leading the list with Fernandez, who would jump to No. 1 on the staff if he can return throwing like he did on Monday.
Henderson Alvarez, an All-Star last year, would be No. 2 in the rotation if he can get over the shoulder inflammation that has plagued him all year.
Jarred Cosart (vertigo) would be No. 3, and Mat Latos (left knee) would be No. 4, although he has been a huge disappointment so far.
If those four were fully healthy, Dan Haren would be No. 5 in what could be an excellent rotation.
David Phelps, Tom Koehler and Brad Hand would return to the bullpen, which now features A.J. Ramos as the closer and set-up men Mike Dunn, Bryan Morris and Carter Capps.
That’s the Marlins’ dream. Now let’s see if it comes true.
MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Cubs (RHP Kyle Hendricks, 1-1, 3.76 ERA) at Marlins (LHP Brad Hand, 0-1, 4.50 ERA)
—LHP Brad Hand will make his 16th appearance of the season — but just his second start — when he faces the Cubs on Tuesday. Hand has never faced the Cubs, but the pressure is on him to perform. With four starting pitchers all due back soon — in probable order of return, Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez — Hand knows there is more at stake than his rotation spot. His job in the majors is in jeopardy, too.
—RHP Jose Urena gave up two runs in the first inning on Monday against the Cubs but recovered to pitch a decent game, even though he took a loss and his record fell to 0-2. The rookie gave up a total of four hits, three walks and three runs in a career-high six innings. Urena has been extremely successful in the minors, posting a 36-21 record since 2012. This year in Triple A, he was 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA, earning the promotion. But with a 7.24 ERA with the Marlins’ major-league team this year, Urena will be headed back to the minors as soon as some of the injured starters come off the disabled list - Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez.
—SS Adeiny Hechavarria (bruised left shoulder) missed his third straight start on Monday. Hechavarria, who was hurt on Friday night when he collided with LF Christian Yelich while chasing a pop fly, is in his fourth year in the big leagues even though he is only 26 years old. His hitting numbers — .300 batting average, .330 on-base percentage and .394 slugging — would all be career highs if he keeps up this pace.
—RHP Jose Fernandez, appearing in an extended spring training game, pitched on Monday for the first time since he had elbow surgery 12 months ago. He is expected to pitch again on Saturday in Class A. Fernandez was brilliant on Monday, firing his fastball from 94 to 97 mph. He pitched three no-hit scoreless innings, allowing just one walk and striking out seven.
—RHP Steve Cishek, who had 39 saves last year, was sent down to Double-A Jacksonville after Monday’s game. Cishek, who is making $6.5 million this season, lost his closer’s job after the first month of the season, but he continued to struggle in his new role as a middle reliever, and the final straw was his loss to the New York Mets on Sunday. He is 1-5 this season with a 6.98 ERA.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’re going to allow him to work on some mechanical things. (We) thought it would be beneficial if we take him out of the spotlight of the major leagues and let him get ironed out.” — Marlins manager Dan Jennings, after sending RHP Steve Cishek, who had 39 saves last year, down to Double-A Jacksonville.
MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - ROSTER REPORT
—SS Adeiny Hechavarria (bruised left shoulder) missed his third straight start June 1.
—RHP Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery in May 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 18. He faced live hitters April 30. He pitched on June 1 for the first time since his elbow surgery. He is expected to pitch again on June 6 in Class A.
—RHP Jarred Cosart (vertigo, right hamstring tightness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 14. He threw a bullpen session May 26. He is set to begin a minor-league rehab stint the first weekend in June.
—RHP Mat Latos (left knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 22. He threw off a mound May 31 and had a bullpen session on June 1 and could make a rehab start as early as June 4.
—C Jeff Mathis (fractured right ring finger) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. Mathis did not need surgery. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A New Orleans on May 24 and was transferred to Double-A Jacksonville on May 30.
—1B Michael Morse (right ring finger sprain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24. He flew to Miami on May 26 to see a hand specialist.
—RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. A May 25 MRI revealed no structural damage. He will be put on a strengthening program with no throwing involved.
—INF/OF Don Kelly (fractured right ring finger) went on the 15-day disabled list April 13. Kelly did not need surgery, but the timetable for his return is uncertain.
—RHP Aaron Crow (sprained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 13. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery April 8.
RHP Dan Haren
RHP David Phelps
RHP Tom Koehler
RHP Jose Urena
LHP Brad Hand
LHP Mike Dunn
RHP A.J. Ramos
RHP Bryan Morris
RHP Sam Dyson
RHP Carter Capps
RHP Vin Mazzaro
RHP Andre Rienzo
1B Jeff Baker
2B Dee Gordon
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
3B Martin Prado
INF Donovan Solano
INF Justin Bour
LF Christian Yelich
CF Marcell Ozuna
RF Giancarlo Stanton
OF Ichiro Suzuki