Mat Latos isn’t ready to rule himself out of his next scheduled start Tuesday in Washington. But if his sore left hamstring doesn’t get better, the Marlins are likely going to dip down into the minors to find a spot starter.
Latos, who strained his left hamstring coming out of the batter’s box in Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Mets, said an MRI revealed Thursday “no structural damage, just some inflammation and swelling” in the back of his knee.
“It’s one of the hamstring tendons that is back there,” Latos said. “Normally it takes me a lot to miss a start —- like a missing limb. So I’m not ruling myself out. I don’t think they are either. It’s just more of getting in heavy treatment to try to get everything to calm down. The good thing is I’m up walking around. It’s sore, not tight, not restricting the flexibility in my knee. That’s a good step.”
The next step, Latos said, is to throw a bullpen session in the next couple of days. Friday, Latos played catch while the Marlins took batting practice before the game. He showed no signs of discomfort and remained out on the field shagging balls.
In the event Latos has a setback, the Marlins (10-12) will likely call-up either Justin Nicolino (2-0, 0.79 ERA in four starts) or Jose Urena (1-0, 0.90 ERA in two starts) from Triple A New Orleans to take his spot in the rotation.
Manager Mike Redmond said Brad Hand would normally be the guy for a spot spot. But entering Friday’s game against the Phillies, Hand had not pitched in a game since April 19. Redmond said Hand’s arm might not be stretched out enough to go deep into a game.
Henderson Alvarez threw his first bullpen session Wednesday since going on the disabled list April13 and said he felt no discomfort in his arm or shoulder.
So if things continue to progress positively, Alvarez said he’ll throw an extended spring training game next Thursday, do a minor-league rehab assignment May 12 in Jupiter and then return to the Marlins rotation May 17 when the team closes out a three game series against the Braves at Marlins Park.
“Everything until now in my arm has felt fine,” Alvarez said Friday. “The MRI said it was inflammation and tendinitis. My shoulder was overworked because I was pitching to make up for [the elbow]. But I feel good now.”
Alvarez said he threw 20 pitches Wednesday — 17 fastballs and three changeups. Alvarez said he will throw his full arsenal of pitches, 50 total, in his next bullpen session on Saturday.
“It’s looking good,” Redmond said of the All-Star’s potential return. “He says he feels great, arm feels good. So, he’s progressing well. It’s a good sign. Knowing he’s not far off is good — and Jose [Fernandez], too.”
Fernandez faced live hitters Thursday in Jupiter for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May. He threw 15 pitches, struck out two batters and forced the other to pop out. Fernandez said he threw everything but sliders.
“I had all the adrenaline going,” Fernandez said. “I felt like I wanted to keep throwing, but it’s a process and we’ve got to follow it.
“My arm feels like it was an off-day yesterday. I don’t feel anything, pretty normal. I know eventually I’m going to have to feel something. Everybody does. But it hasn’t happened yet.”
Fernandez will ramp up his workload to 30 pitches the next time he faces live hitters Monday. He said the next step will be pitching in a simulated game May 10.
“It’s not going to be different until I get a chance to pitch in an actual game, compete with another team, even in the minor leagues,” Fernandez said.
▪ Left fielder Christian Yelich, out with a lower back strain since April 20, is in line to play in a rehab game Sunday in Jupiter, Redmond said.
“We’ll know more when he goes out and plays and see how he does in those games,” Redmond said. “It’s more on how he feels. But it’s good that he feels good and is ready to go out and start playing.”
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (2-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (1-2, 3.19), 4:10 p.m. Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 2.49) vs. Phillies RHP Severino Gonzalez (0-1, 23.63), 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park.