MIAMI -- The Marlins on Saturday announced that right-hander Pablo López will return to Miami from his rehab assignment. The ballclub is being "ultra conservative" with López, who is working back from a right rotator cuff strain, after he had his progression slowed down as a precaution to give him more recovery time. At the moment, he is not being shut down.
López has been sidelined since the start of the second half, last appearing in the Majors on July 11. He began his assignment last Saturday, tossing three scoreless, hitless innings on 38 pitches. The Marlins skipped his next scheduled rehab start at Triple-A Jacksonville on Thursday because the medical staff "didn't like something the day after," according to manager Don Mattingly.
"Nothing more than yesterday, just slowing him down, making sure we're careful with him," Mattingly said. "Sounded like a minor setback for sure. Probably not minor to Pablo, who's wanting to get going. But I know the medical staff's going to be careful with him."
The 25-year-old López has a history of shoulder trouble, so the Marlins showing caution isn't surprising. His 2018 season was cut short by a right shoulder strain, and he missed two months in '19 with the same injury.
Thirty-three games remain on the schedule, which concludes on Oct. 3. Would it be feasible for López to return before then?
"You're going to do what's right for him first," Mattingly said. "But I think everyone would like to see that, including him, including us. Just to know that he can go into the winter [with a] start under his belt or two -- even if it's one -- knowing that he's healthy and he bounced back from that."
Could that be an element of De La Cruz's game moving forward if he continues to reach base?
"The manager didn't give me the sign, he didn't give me the green light," De La Cruz said, smiling afterward. "I need to wait for that, but I want to work more on that."
Mattingly said that everybody has a green light -- it just depends on what their number is to be able to go. He compared De La Cruz's potential baserunning trajectory to Miguel Rojas, whose sprint speed is 26.6 ft./sec. (league average is 27 ft./sec.). Rojas has a career-high 11 steals and has been caught just twice in 2021. De La Cruz ranks in the 70th percentile for sprint speed (27.8 ft./sec.).
"It's not like he's a clogger, for sure," Mattingly said of De La Cruz. "He runs good. I wouldn't call him a burner -- you don't put him in the Jazz [Chisholm Jr.] category or the Magneuris [Sierra] or [Jon] Berti category -- but he's definitely in the Miggy category, and we've seen what Miggy's been able to do and that's just being smart, picking the right time, reading keys, taking advantage of what they give you. I do think he's that kind of guy."