Pablo progressing, hopes to pitch again in '21

September 14th, 2021

WASHINGTON -- Marlins right-hander 's wish is to return to the big league mound before the season comes to an end. He will continue the rehab process to achieve that with his second bullpen session -- 25-30 pitches -- on Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla.

"We all feel safe enough or good enough in knowing that we are moving forward with a short part of the season left to try to give him potentially a couple times out so that he could feel good about the offseason," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. "There's been discussion of shutting him down and going into the offseason and he'll have to go in his mind and be [rehabbing] all winter. That can sometimes play heck on player's mind, so the other thing we looked at is the benefit of shutting him down -- how does that help him and what does that do for him next year? There's nothing certain at this point.

"I do know the player wants to and is feeling good enough to move forward ... with his rehab and see if he can get back up and get a couple outings. He feels better this time than he did the first time coming back, as far as his catch, his bullpens. We haven't got to any outings yet, so we might be talking about some different things later, I don't know."

López, who has been sidelined since the start of the second half with a right rotator cuff strain, threw his first bullpen on Saturday. He had his rehab assignment slowed down as a precaution after one rehab start with Triple-A Jacksonville on Aug. 21. Stottlemyre said that was a result of López playing catch and it "just not [being] quite there" in terms of feel. Now, López is throwing freer. The organization is comfortable moving forward because he will be "brutally honest."

Manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday there is the possibility of López opening a game and throwing just a few innings. Asked on Monday whether that would mean his rehab wouldn't need to be built up the traditional way of 75 pitches as a starter, Mattingly said that was fair. The key is for López to be ready to compete and not treat it like a rehab assignment.

The 25-year-old López has a history of shoulder injuries, missing time from 2018-19 with strains. Through 19 starts in '21, he had a 137 ERA+ and a 1.01 WHIP in 101 innings -- 10 1/3 frames shy of his career high.

"We continue to look into how can we keep this guy healthy and still let him pitch and win games," Stottlemyre said. "We're going to look at some of those things in the offseason and look into possibly breaking and chopping his season into pieces. I don't know, and I don't have an answer. We took all the measures as you know with the pitch counts and stuff like that. If you take a look at consistency, he didn't have any hiccups. This guy was 'Steady Eddie.' Every fifth day or sixth day that he took the ball, we were at a point where we knew what we were going to get from him. The industry started to take notice of how consistent he is at getting soft contact, his ability to throw strikes and pound in the zone, which was something that took a long time to get past. A guy that we could truly count on, and we've missed him. We miss having him around our other younger pitchers, and certainly every five days we miss him, too."

Restructuring of organization
A source told that Fernando Seguignol has been relieved of his role as director of international scouting, and the Marlins would like to reassign him within the organization. A decision hasn't been made as to what that role would be.

Six of Miami's Top 30 Prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, are foreign-born players who signed with the Marlins during Seguignol's tenure. He has been with the Marlins since the Bruce Sherman ownership group took over in late 2017.