Miami Marlins starting pitcher begins a three-start rehab assignment with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp the team announced this past week.
While the majority of baseball news surrounding the Miami Marlins focused on Trevor Richards moving to bullpen and the trade that involved closer Sergio Romo, the team did make another significant move that didn’t get as much publicity.
It was announced late last week, that starter Pablo Lopez was assigned to AA Jacksonville and would pitch in three games for the Jumbo Shrimp. Lopez has been dealing with a shoulder strain which placed him on the I.L. The organization has been careful in moving him along slowly, not rushing him back to the rotation. Lopez suffered an injury last season that shelved him at the end of 2018.
For now, the team will monitor his progress, pitching against Southern League talent. Anything the Marlins can get out of Lopez, who is 5-5 for the season, is a bonus. Given the team isn’t making a run toward the playoffs and there will be a transition of minor leaguers being recalled on September 1, it’s a good bet the team is still in no rush to throw him out there against Major League hitting if he is not ready.
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Lopez wasn’t sharp in his first start in Jacksonville, giving up four runs on five hits and 1.2 endings for the loss against the Pensacola Blue Wahoo. Lopez began last season in Jacksonville and quickly made short work of opponents which led to a promotion to AAA New Orleans before he made his MLB debut prior to the All-Star break.
While he is dominant at times on the mound, injuries have been a concern. He and Sandy Alcantara made their major league debut in the same week in 2018, with both youngsters winning the first starts if their careers.
When he returns to Miami, he should rejoin the rotation that has been battered by injuries of late. With Richards moving to a relief role, the Marlins will once again use Elieser Hernandez in a starting role for now.