Garrett slowed by sore shoulder, won't be ready for Opening Day

March 5th, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins left-hander won't be ready for the start of the regular season after being delayed at the start of camp by general left shoulder soreness. The opening series begins on March 28 against the Pirates at loanDepot park.

"I don't think you're going to see him," manager Skip Schumaker said on Tuesday. "Right now, Opening Day would be tough. It'd be really challenging for him to be on the roster Opening Day with no live [batting practice] yet. He's going to have three or four more of those at least, and then getting him ramped up to be on a Major League roster is going to be challenging at this point.

"I'm not going to push somebody who has a little bit of a shoulder thing going on. That was a few weeks ago. He feels great now. I think it's dangerous when you're trying to push a guy to make an Opening Day roster when he's coming off a little bit of a nagging, whatever it was, so I think he's going to throw [a] bullpen [session today], and then we'll see what happens."

Speaking after his fourth bullpen session of the spring, Garrett noted his arm "never feels great" when he first starts throwing again in the offseason, but that the discomfort goes away. That didn't happen this winter. It got to the point where Garrett was tracking how many throws he had, then realized he needed to give his arm a break.

Over the past couple weeks, Garrett has begun to feel normal. He expects to throw another bullpen session before possibly progressing to a handful of live BPs. A few of his rotation mates, meanwhile, already have been building up their pitch counts in Grapefruit League appearances.

"Bullpens have been good," Garrett said. "I'm starting to feel normal again, shoulder's bouncing back really well, so in a much better spot than when I showed up."

The 26-year-old Garrett began the 2023 season as the odd man out in the rotation, working out of the bullpen once before turning into one of the club's most reliable starters. In a breakout campaign, he posted a 122 ERA+ and a 1.15 WHIP over a career-high 159 2/3 innings. Garrett started Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series against the Phillies, tossing three innings and allowing two runs in Miami’s 7-1 loss.

Though disappointed in not being ready for the Opening Day rotation, Garrett acknowledged what's more important is being available to pitch down the stretch as the club tries to make another postseason run.

"Accepting it and just kind of being where my feet are and trying to stack good days," Garrett said, "and once we get back in the game action, be sure that we can be good going forward."

Without Garrett, the Marlins' 40-man rotation options with MLB experience include Opening Day starter Jesús Luzardo, right-handers Eury Pérez, Edward Cabrera and George Soriano as well as southpaws A.J. Puk, Trevor Rogers and Ryan Weathers. Prospects Max Meyer and Sixto Sánchez are coming back from surgeries, while right-hander Bryan Hoeing is more of a swingman. Non-roster invitees Yonny Chirinos, Vladimir Gutierrez and Matt Andriese are among those still in big league camp.

Miami has more depth than it did at the end of 2023, when Pérez, Rogers and ace Sandy Alcantara were sidelined by injuries.

"It's great to have them just in general," Garrett said. "We kind of needed some starting-pitching depth at the end of the year last year. I watched Trevor's live, he looked unbelievable. Puk yesterday, obviously, he looks great. It's just good for the team to have a bunch of starting-pitching depth."