Rehabbing López throws to live batters

September 18th, 2021

MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander faced live batters on Saturday afternoon at loanDepot park, throwing 21 pitches to Sandy León and Alex Jackson as rookie Payton Henry caught him. López, who has been sidelined since July 17 with a right rotator cuff strain, mixed in everything from his arsenal.

"It looked free and easy," manager Don Mattingly said. "We watched him warm up down there, too. It looks free and easy. I think he feels more confident right now. You can see it and hear it in his voice, so we'll see what the next steps are. But he looks good."

The 25-year-old's progression depends on how he responds to this live batting practice session. After all, López had his rehab slowed down on Aug. 26 following one start at Triple-A Jacksonville. Before Saturday, López previously completed a pair of bullpen sessions.

López would like to return to the mound before the season ends on Oct. 3, though it wouldn't be as a starter because that build-up takes more time. If anything, he would like the peace of mind of knowing he'd be ready to go on the first day of Spring Training 2022.

"Obviously getting into one or two games would be pretty fun -- I would be really happy with that -- but the main thing is knowing that my arm will be fully healthy," López said. "Taking a couple of weeks off of throwing [in the offseason], then start working out again. And then when it's time to start playing catch again -- whether it's November, December -- knowing that the arm's fully healthy, and then it's just going through that build-up and showing up to Spring Training ready to go."

Though López was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Friday, he could be activated at any point since it dates back to July 17. Miami will continue to be careful considering López has a history of shoulder injuries.

Vesting activated
Miguel Rojas reached 500 plate appearances for the season during Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Pirates, guaranteeing his $5.5 million option for 2022. It will be his eighth year with the Marlins.

Rojas, who has been playing with a fracture in his left index finger since late May, posted a photo with the training staff on his Instagram story following the series opener.

"Special day today, could [not] have done it without the help of this group right here. Thank you guys!!!"

Earlier in the week, general manager Kim Ng addressed the contract situation.

"First of all, we're really excited that he's going to vest," said Ng on Tuesday at Nationals Park. "In terms of an extension, probably not going to characterize any discussions if they exist."