Miami Marlins starting pitcher Caleb Smith took another step toward returning to the rotation this week by throwing a bullpen session.
Before Jordan Yamamoto took the mound on Tuesday night and delivered one of the best performances of the season for any Miami Marlins pitcher, it was announced that Caleb Smith took another step toward rejoining the team’s rotation.
Smith has been on the I.L. with inflammation in his right hip, but according to reports, his return is closer to becoming a reality.
"“Continuing his rehab process at the Marlins’ complex in Jupiter, Fla., Smith threw a bullpen session, his first time off the mound since going on the 10-day injured list on June 7,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes.“Before rejoining the Marlins’ rotation, Smith will make at least one Minor League rehab start. That could be as early as Monday, the day the Marlins have a scheduled off-day. However, it is unclear where Smith would pitch because Class A Advanced Jupiter also has a scheduled off-day. Triple-A New Orleans and Double-A Jacksonville, however, are both home that day.”"
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Should it be here in Jacksonville, we will have coverage of his start and his progression on Marlin Maniac.
The organization has been blessed to have seen quality starts from both Elieser Hernandez and Yamamoto in the past week. Miami is also dealing with the loss of Opening Day starter Jose Urena, who is gone for at least 60 days due to a herniated disc in his back. Hernandez was brought up from Triple-A New Orleans to fill Smith’s spot in the rotation. Once the news broke of the severity of Urena’s injury, the 23-year-old Yamamoto was recalled from the Jumbo Shrimp, the team’s Double-A affiliate.
Over the course of the first two months of the season, Smith was Miami’s most dominant pitcher, jumping out to a 3-0 record. He has since fallen to 3-4 thanks in part to a lack of production from his teammates at the plate.
"“He just continues on until he’s ready to make a start somewhere down the line,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The ‘pen was another step along the line of progression. As long as he continues to do that, just keep moving towards a rehab start, and then be back.”"
Having both youngsters in the rotation means the Marlins can ease Smith back into action without rushing his progress. As of now, Hernandez is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday against the Phillies in Philadelphia.
"“We won’t rush [Smith], no matter what,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re going to make sure he’s ready to go. He’s just got to go through his progression, and be ready.”"