ATLANTA -- With a day off Thursday and another coming up Monday, the Marlins had the choice of either going with a four-man rotation this week or starting veteran long-reliever Kevin Slowey in Saturday’s open slot against the New York Mets.
They opted for the latter, a move manager Mike Redmond explained Wednesday was all geared toward giving his young rotation an extra day of rest.
“If we can get guys an extra day here, it’s going to be better for them down the road,” Redmond said. “Slowey has pitched well against the Mets. Now we don’t rush these guys too much.
“At the end of day, at the end of this year, all these guys are going to be in uncharted territory with all of their innings. It just made sense to push them back, give them an extra day.”
Henderson Alvarez, Friday’s starter in New York, has logged the most innings in one calendar year of any Marlins starter in the rotation (187 1/3 innings in 2012 with Toronto). The others aren’t far behind: Jacob Turner (174 1/3 innings 2013), Jose Fernandez (172 2/3 innings in 2013), Tom Koehler (116 innings in 2013) and Nathan Eovaldi (154 1/3 innings in 2012).
Redmond said the Marlins haven’t discussed putting an innings limit on Fernandez like they did last year during his National League Rookie of the Year season. But he said the team has Fernandez’s “best interest in mind.
“We showed that last year how we kind of handled him,” Redmond said of Fernandez, who was shut down the second week of September. “[An innings limit] will be a conversation to have later in the year. But we’ve talked about possibly giving him extra days when we can throughout the year to save him and make sure he’s fresh at the end of the year as well.”
In Tuesday’s masterful 1-0 victory over the Braves, Fernandez matched a career-high with 14 strikeouts and 109 pitches over eight innings. It marked the third time in his career Fernandez had a shutout through eight innings but didn’t come out to pitch the ninth.
Redmond reiterated Wednesday he would have let Fernandez pitch the ninth inning Tuesday had his pitch count after the eighth been closer to 100 pitches.
Fernandez, by the way, made history again Tuesday.
He became the fourth-youngest pitcher since 1900 to record 14-plus strikeouts with no walks in a start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Only Gary Nolan (19 years, 11 days in 1967), Dwight Gooden (twice: 19 years, 301 days and 19 years, 306 days in 1984) and Kerry Wood (20 years, 324 days in 1998) were younger than Fernandez when they accomplish the feat.
In his first 33 starts, Fernandez has five games of 10-plus strikeouts with one or no walks, the first pitcher to pull off that feat since Mark Prior.
• Reliever Carlos Marmol left Wednesday’s game with a right hamstring strain. Redmond said Marmol has played through a similar injury in the past. The Marlins are listing him as day-to-day.
• The Marlins recalled reliever Carter Capps, acquired in the Logan Morrison trade with Seattle, to fill the spot vacated by Arquimedes Caminero in the bullpen.
• Redmond said Turner, on rehab assignment with a right shoulder sprain, was scheduled to throw 50 to 60 pitches for Single A Jupiter on Wednesday night. It’s Turner’s first game since he strained his shoulder in the batting cages before a game in Washington earlier this month.
• Infielder Ed Lucas (fractured left hand) still has not begun playing in games, but he is working out in Jupiter, Redmond said.
• Thursday: Off
• Friday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 2.66 ERA) vs. Mets RHP Zach Wheeler (1-2, 4.63), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.