MILWAUKEE -- Tom Koehler described the last time he walked off a Major League mound as rock bottom.He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans shortly after allowing eight runs in three innings against the Astros at Marlins Park on May 16. It was fair to wonder if one of Miami's
MILWAUKEE -- Tom Koehler described the last time he walked off a Major League mound as rock bottom.
He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans shortly after allowing eight runs in three innings against the Astros at Marlins Park on May 16. It was fair to wonder if one of Miami's rotation mainstays had thrown his last pitch with the Marlins.
But after posting a 1.15 ERA in three starts in Triple-A, Koehler will be recalled to start Saturday against the Brewers.
To clear room for Koehler, Miami optioned left-hander Justin Nicolino to New Orleans following Friday's 3-2 loss to the Brewers. Nicolino, who was removed from the rotation earlier this week, has a 5.31 ERA over 20 1/3 innings across six appearances, five of which were starts.
"Tom went down and got back to his roots of being a bulldog-type guy that's aggressive and will go after people and compete," Mattingly said. "I think he's found out some things."
Koehler credits a three-week stretch away from pitching, which he was forced to take due to right shoulder bursitis that sent him to the disabled list, for the bounceback.
He returned to the mound June 8 and allowed three earned runs in four innings in a start for New Orleans. Koehler struck out eight in 3 1/3 with one run allowed in his next outing and finished his Triple-A stint by giving up one run on two hits with seven strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings June 24.
"I had to get healthy first," Koehler said. "In order to make sure that I could be the best version of myself for this team, I had to make sure everything was working the way it is supposed to work. Doing that allowed me to focus on the things I need to be focused on as opposed to other stuff."
Koehler entered 2017 with a 4.14 ERA in 126 games, 119 starts, over the past four seasons for the Marlins. He began this season with two solid outings before posting an 8.56 ERA over a six-start stretch that led to his demotion.
"I wasn't throwing the ball well," Koehler said. "I needed to get right. I understood, and I still understand, the move. Now it is about moving past it and just picking up hopefully picking up on the right foot and just keep moving from here to the rest of the year."
Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.