Miami Marlins starting pitcher Caleb Smith was cleared to begin a throwing program after being placed on the 10-day I.L. with hip inflammation.
The news was a sigh of relief in the wake of the decision by the organization to place Opening Day starter Jose Urena on the 60-day I.L. for a lower back injury. The Marlins are 3-7 in their last 10 games and are 24-43 on the season.
Smith is 3-4 this season with a 3.41 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 6 innings pitched. He was the Marlins most effective pitcher the first two months of the season as the team’s No. 5 starter in the rotation.
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"Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, “Out with left hip inflammation, Smith was cleared by the team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan, to start his throwing program. No timetable has been set for his return to the rotation, but the organization doesn’t anticipate a lengthy IL stint.”"
The Marlins do have both Elieser Hernandez and Jordan Yamamoto in the rotation, both of whom pitched well in their starts last week. The injury to Urena now presents another challenge for the Marlins as they must fill that spot in the rotation. Miami had gone 64 games with same starting five pitchers before Smith’s injury.
Miami had been counting on the youth and strength of its young starting staff as a way to build the foundation of this ballclub. Smith was a surprise success on the mound, posting a 3-0 record before his first loss of the season. Urena started 2019 with a 1-6 record and failed to receive run support.
For the season, Urena is currently 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA in 74.2 innings pitched.
"As Frisaro explained, “Smith last saw game action June 6 at Milwaukee, taking the loss after allowing four earned runs in five innings. In that start, his average four-seam fastball velocity dropped to 90 mph after registering at 92 mph in his previous start.”"
It was his control and his effectiveness that caught the eye of the coaching staff in Spring Training after he had come back from a lat injury that cost him part of the first half of 2018 and all of the second half of the season. Smith’s dominance was one of the reasons the team made the decision to move Wei-Yin Chen to the bullpen and designate Dan Straily for assignment.
Hernandez assumed Smith’s spot in the rotation on Tuesday night. Right now, there is no left-handed pitcher in the starting five.
"“This is kind of the start of getting him [Smith] ready,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I don’t want to put a timetable on it. But, hopefully, it’s something that’s not going to be a long thing.”"