Having rotation depth enabled the Marlins to acquire outfielder Starling Marte from the D-backs for left-hander Caleb Smith and prospect Humberto Mejía.
As circumstances would have it, Miami’s rotation depth was tested when starter Elieser Hernandez sustained a strained right lat.
The Marlins placed Hernandez on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday and recalled infielder Eddy Alvarez from the alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla.
Hernandez’s injury occurred during the third inning of the Marlins' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The right-hander, who had a 3-0 count to Cavan Biggio before calling for time, was then escorted off the Marlins Park field by a member of the training staff. He was charged with one run on two hits in two-plus innings in the 39-pitch (24-strike) outing. He struck out two and walked one batter.
The Marlins still have some starter depth to cover for Hernandez’s injury. Manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday that José Ureña, who has been on the injured list since late July, will fill the vacated spot.
The way the rotation lines up, Ureña would make his first start of the season on Monday at Atlanta.
“Obviously, we make the move to get Starling, and that takes one of our starters out, and the next day, your starter comes up sore during the game,” Mattingly said. “So that gives you a little hit.”
The Marlins feel they still have enough quality in their rotation, with some depth behind them, to cover the final month of the season.
Hard-throwing Edward Cabrera (No. 6 prospect) could be an option later in September, but as a reliever. Cabrera is being built up after experiencing some arm soreness during Summer Camp. He is close to progressing to the mound, and has yet to face hitters.
Cabrera could be used as a bullpen option later in the season or perhaps the postseason, if the Marlins make it.
“We’ve seen Trevor Rogers, and we didn’t know if we’d see him this year, step up,” Mattingly said. “It looks like he’s going to give you quality outings when he pitches. Sixto has stepped up. José is ready. I think we’ll be fitting José right into [Hernandez’s] spot.”
Prior to Monday’s Trade Deadline, the Marlins received plenty of inquiries about their pitching. They told clubs that their top pitching prospects weren’t available, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff did find a match with the D-backs to improve the offense.
“The depth is one of the things that we talked about,” Mattingly said. “It’s probably the reason Mike and the front office felt comfortable making the move to bring in a guy like Starling. We’re confident in those guys, and even those guys in Jupiter have a chance to help us.”
The Marlins received a scare when shortstop Miguel Rojas exited Tuesday’s game with a sore abdomen.
Rojas is feeling better, and he could be back in a few days. The club is off on Thursday, which buys some time.
Jazz Chisholm (No. 4 prospect), who replaced Rojas on Tuesday in the top of the eighth inning, made his first big league start on Wednesday. Alvarez was called up to provide middle-infield depth.
“I don’t have him in the lineup tonight,” Mattingly said. “He’s really confident that in a couple of days, in the time we need to make our move for a starter, that he’s going to be ready to roll.
“Eddy is protection. You don’t want to go into a game and have an infielder get hurt, and all of a sudden you’ve got a catcher playing third base and things don’t look the way they should."
Jazz ready for any role
Shortstop is his natural position, but Chisholm is getting an opportunity to also play second base.
Chisholm recently starting working at second, as well as shortstop, at the alternate training site. He will see time at shortstop with Rojas out of the lineup, but that could change in a few days.
“I got plenty of work done at second base in Jupiter,” Chisholm said. “As soon as they told me I had a chance to play second base, I started working, and working there every day. It didn't matter, second or short. I put in the work to get it done. Now, I feel really comfortable getting the work at second base, and really comfortable at short.”