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Straily begins process with throwing program

Marlins right-hander has been sidelined with forearm strain
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The first step to getting back on the mound took place for right-hander Dan Straily on Friday afternoon as he made 25 throws on flat ground from 60 feet. It's the first time he's thrown since experiencing right forearm tightness on March 19.

Straily is one of seven Marlins to open the season on the disabled list. He's listed as having a right forearm strain. Straily was upbeat after his short throwing session, and he remains guardedly hopeful that he will return in a relatively short period of time.

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MIAMI -- The first step to getting back on the mound took place for right-hander Dan Straily on Friday afternoon as he made 25 throws on flat ground from 60 feet. It's the first time he's thrown since experiencing right forearm tightness on March 19.

Straily is one of seven Marlins to open the season on the disabled list. He's listed as having a right forearm strain. Straily was upbeat after his short throwing session, and he remains guardedly hopeful that he will return in a relatively short period of time.

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Initially, Straily was expected to make his season debut on Friday against the Cubs, but now he likely is at least a few weeks away from joining the rotation. Caleb Smith replaced him as the No. 2 starter.

"He started his progression today," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's excited to get started. He feels great. It's not a huge buildup, but enough to make sure that he's sharp."

In Spring Training, Straily built up to about 70-80 pitches, but because of the layoff, he will first pitch in rehab assignment games before coming back to the Marlins.

"I think it's fair to get him built up, throw a couple of 'pens, and go out there and throw a rehab assignment, and then he should be ready to go," Mattingly said.

Shortstop JT Riddle (right shoulder tendinitis) also is building back his arm strength.

"For him, at-bats is not really the issue, it's more throwing and bouncing back," Mattingly said. "It's arm strength, but it's also durability with that. That's our biggest issue. One day he's good, then the next day, maybe not so good, and then it's not so good the next day."

With Riddle out, Miguel Rojas has taken over at shortstop.

"JT is going to need to get built up, and then show he can be durable, as far as being a guy here that you can use every day," Mattingly said.

Realmuto waits, Wallach behind the plate
No timetable has been set, but chances are likely that catcher J.T. Realmuto will miss the first two or three weeks of the season.

On the disabled list with a low back contusion, Realmuto has yet to swing a bat and he continues to recover from a bone bruise.

In his absence, Chad Wallach has started the first two games. Switch-hitter Tomas Telis and Bryan Holaday are the other two catchers on the roster.

"I want to stay consistent with that," Mattingly said. "We're going to do things all year long, based as much about building, instead of trying to set our lineup and get guys in there right away. We're definitely going to use our guys, but I wanted to stay consistent with our lineup today, give it two days in a row, and then we will start mix and matching more."

Defensive abilities are being strongly considered to back up Realmuto.

Wallach is effective working with the pitching staff.

"He's one of the best guys we have as far as pitches [framed] and handling the pitchers," Mattingly said. "We're comfortable with him."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto, JT Riddle, Dan Straily, Chad Wallach