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Marlins keeping eye on young arms' innings

Club monitoring work load of Garcia, Hernandez to keep pitchers fresh
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The Marlins' innings-management program already is at work. It started with Jarlin Garcia moving to the bullpen on a temporary basis, and it also will eventually impact rookie Elieser Hernandez.

It's also filtered down to Triple-A New Orleans, where they are currently using a six-man rotation. For the first time in years, the Marlins have some quality pitching depth, and they are closely monitoring their innings.

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MIAMI -- The Marlins' innings-management program already is at work. It started with Jarlin Garcia moving to the bullpen on a temporary basis, and it also will eventually impact rookie Elieser Hernandez.

It's also filtered down to Triple-A New Orleans, where they are currently using a six-man rotation. For the first time in years, the Marlins have some quality pitching depth, and they are closely monitoring their innings.

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"There's certain guys you're going to have innings limits on," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Elieser is one of them, and Jarlin is one of those guys.

"They're using a six-man rotation in Triple-A right now with the thought process to keep some innings off those guys, so if we need those guys in our rotation, they'll have those innings to pitch."

Hernandez effectively replaced Garcia in the rotation on Wednesday in Miami's 6-5 win over the Dodgers at Marlins Park.

Video: LAD@MIA: Hernandez allows 1 run in first MLB start

Garcia, 25, has transitioned from the bullpen in 2017 to the rotation.

The lefty was more of a specialist last season, and he threw 53 1/3 innings in 68 games. This year, he's made six starts and two long-relief appearances.

Garcia has been one of the more effective starters, posting a 1-1 record and a 3.14 ERA. But he's already at 43 innings.

The organization hasn't announced a firm innings range on Garcia, but it likely will be around 100-120 innings. The lefty had previously started, logging 133 2/3 innings in 2015 so he's already topped 130 innings in his professional career.

Garcia remains available out of the bullpen, but his usage won't be as a specialist. It would be more of a bridge role, where he could pitch multiple innings.

"I'm not going to use him the way I used him last year," Mattingly said. "I'm not going to use him to get one guy out in a lefty situation."

Video: MIA@CHC: Garcia freezes Russell in 2nd for strikeout

The Marlins also made it clear that Garcia will rejoin the rotation at some point.

"We're just keeping Jarlin out of there long enough so we can keep some innings off of him, and then we'll stick him back in the rotation," Mattingly said.

Hernandez is in a similar innings situation, but he has less wear and tear on his arm because he started the season on the disabled list with a tooth infection.

The 23-year-old threw eight innings in a no-decision on Wednesday.

Caleb Smith, who started on Thursday against the Dodgers, Dan Straily, Jose Urena and Wei-Yin Chen don't have any innings restrictions.

Smith, however, is a rookie, and he could be scaled back later in the season if the organization senses he is tiring.

"The rest of our guys in there are not really on a limit," Mattingly said. "You don't look at that with Dan. I don't think we are looking at that with Smitty. Now, if he's looking like he needs a breather, we can do the same thing 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