MIAMI -- A shorthanded Marlins bullpen is close to getting back a hard-throwing projected future closer. Right-hander Kyle Barraclough, on the 10-day disabled list since July 26 with a right shoulder impingement, could be reinstated as early as Tuesday.Getting Barraclough back would be a huge boost to a 'pen that
MIAMI -- A shorthanded Marlins bullpen is close to getting back a hard-throwing projected future closer. Right-hander Kyle Barraclough, on the 10-day disabled list since July 26 with a right shoulder impingement, could be reinstated as early as Tuesday.
Getting Barraclough back would be a huge boost to a 'pen that has been hit by injuries, and also has been depleted since AJ Ramos was traded to the Mets and David Phelps was dealt to the Mariners.
"The shoulder is feeling a lot better -- no pain, no soreness," Barraclough said. "It's just a waiting game."
For now, Brad Ziegler has taken over as closer since Ramos was dealt. Ziegler locked down his first four save chances.
But Barraclough is a power pitcher with a plus slider, and he eventually could step in as closer.
"I've used him all year long, basically to get the toughest assignments," manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's series opener against the Giants. "He usually gets 1-2-3 or 3-4-5 in the order. That could be the seventh, that could be the eighth. That could be the ninth, who knows where it is? He's always kind of had the toughest guys because I know his stuff plays with all those guys."
Barraclough has appeared in 47 games, and in 46 1/3 innings, he has a 3.30 ERA with 50 strikeouts.
Ziegler, a ground ball specialist with his submarine-style delivery, had struck out 20 in 34 innings entering Monday.
Barraclough notes that he's always wanted to close, but that his out of his control.
"That's always been my goal," he said. "It's a matter of time for me. I've just got to continue to do what I'm doing, take care of business. That's for the coaches to figure out and decide, if and when that time is right, and go from there."
Whether Barraclough becomes the closer, either this season or next, likely will come down to fastball command.
"He has swing-and-miss stuff," Mattingly said. "I think the thing you'd like him to do is throw the fastball when he wants and get it to where he wants. He's a guy who has a great slider. When it's going, it's pretty much unhittable."
• Nick Wittgren, on the disabled list with a right elbow strain, is progressing toward throwing soon. The 26-year-old reliever's objective is to pitch at some point before the season ends. Wittgren has a promising future, but foremost, he is not going to be rushed.
"Hopefully, I'll start throwing soon, and get back out there and finish off the season," he said. "When I went down, I was thinking the worse, because of how I felt."
• Shortstop JT Riddle, who underwent left shoulder surgery on Friday, is expected to miss six months. The club anticipates he will be ready for Spring Training.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.