Add Wei-Yin Chen's rehab outing Sunday, and the Marlins feel they soon could be on the back side of a rash of injuries, a welcome update as they play out a three-game series with the Dodgers.
"We're still kind of biting our tongue and continuing to hope that these guys keep progressing," Mattingly said from the Dodger Stadium dugout Monday. "We'll keep taking it one day at a time, for the starters one start [at a time], and evaluate, see where we're at. Dan's pitching tomorrow. Prado, Riddle, Elieser, they'll all play tomorrow."
The Marlins won't rush things, even if they are coming off a four-game series at Milwaukee where everything that could beat them did. The club has also lost seven of its last eight, only winning a 9-1 decision at New York, against the Yankees, in that stretch.
Prado continues to recover from knee surgery last year, but he could be back sooner rather than later. Mattingly could use the presence of the 34-year-old veteran.
"You get a Martin Prado in here, he's working hard every day," Mattingly said. "He's not accepting anything other than himself being a really good player. And our young guys need to see that, that you are always fighting to get better.
Rule 5 pickup Hernandez, who is on the 10-day DL after dental surgery this spring, is scheduled to pitch five innings at Class A Advanced Jupiter on Tuesday. Prado is also playing in that game, as is shortstop Riddle (shoulder). They were supposed to play Monday, but that game was rained out.
Straily will pitch Tuesday for Double-A Jacksonville. The Marlins' projected No. 2 starter has been on the DL with a right forearm strain.
"You definitely want veteran players around, because they have been through it," Mattingly said. "They're not going to waver in their approach or preparation. Dan Straily, he's a guy now that has had enough success that he knows how to get ready to pitch. He's not going to let one start affect the next."
Mattingly might be looking at the positives, but he is not oblivious. He knows the Marlins need to get better. They might do just that soon if they can get a few established guys back on the roster.
"We have some good things happening," Mattingly said. "Some of it is behind the scenes, some of it is subtle, but there are definitely good things happening."
Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.