The Marlins decided to give Brad Hand’s spot in the rotation Sunday to veteran right-hander Kevin Slowey. And if all goes well with Jacob Turner’s throwing shoulder over the next week and a half, it might be the only time Slowey is needed to start.
Thanks to some fortunate scheduling, manager Mike Redmond said the team could go with a four-man rotation until the beginning of May.
The Marlins, off Thursday before opening a three-game series at Marlins Park Friday against the Seattle Mariners, have a day off between series next week in Atlanta and New York, and then another day of rest before they return home to face the Braves on April 29.
Redmond said he and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez opted to not move Tuesday night winner Tom Koehler into Sunday's slot on five days rest because they wanted their staff to line up accordingly against the Braves next week. Koehler is slated to start Monday night in Atlanta, followed by Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi.
By the time the Marlins get back from their road trip next week, Turner could be back from the disabled list. Out with a strained right shoulder, Turner played catch from 60 feet on Tuesday and then again Wednesday. Redmond said Turner is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Friday before being reevaluated.
“If everything goes well I think we have a date in our mind of when he could be back,” Redmond said.
Slowey, who was thrust into the starting rotation last year when Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez began the season on the disabled list, went 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 starts for the Marlins. He fared better as a reliever in six appearances (2-0, 3.60 ERA) before his season was cut short in late July by injury.
Hand, who had back-to-back starts in which he didn't make it past the fourth inning, will head back to the bullpen to serve as a long reliever.
STANTON ON a tear
Giancarlo Stanton earned $6.5 million in his first year of arbitration this past off-season. It's hard to fathom what the Marlins are going to have to pay him if he keeps up his current pace.
Entering Wednesday’s game, the 24-year-old former All-Star was hitting .317 with five homers, 12 runs scored and 21 RBI and on pace to finish with 54 homers, 130 runs scored, 227 RBI and 20 stolen bases.
Of course, Stanton has yet to get through a big league season completely healthy. He missed 85 games with injuries over the last two seasons after playing in 150 games in 2011. But a healthy Stanton sure is pretty scary to watch.
The first month of the season has usually been horrendous for Stanton. Between March and April in his first three full big league seasons (2011-2013), he combined to hit .236 with 27 RBI and six homers in 57 games. This season has obviously been different.
“The key is to get guys on base and if guys get on base everybody sees better pitches,” Redmond said. “They still have the ability to pitch around Giancarlo whenever they want. But we've got some guys behind him that are doing some damage too. But the key is the top of the order. If those guys get on base you force them to have to make pitches to him. If not, then the guys behind him benefit.”
According to Fangraphs, Stanton is seeing more pitches in the strike zone (40.4 percent) compared to last season, when he finished second with the fewest strikes thrown to him (38.2 percent).
He's also being more aggressive than he was a year ago, swinging at 47.1 percent of the pitches thrown to him compared to 41.5. During his All-Star season of 2012, Stanton swung at 48.4 percent of the pitches thrown to him with 44.8 percent of those pitches thrown in the strike zone.
• Thursday: Off.
• Friday: Marlin RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 4.19) vs. Marines RHP Chris Young (0-0, 0.00) 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park