When Jarred Cosart comes off the disabled list Thursday he will be going to the Marlins’ bullpen and not the starting rotation, manager Dan Jennings said before Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.
“Some of the young pitchers have stepped up and certainly have earned the right to go back out [as starters],” Jennings said. “We’ll get [Cosart] acclimated back at the major-league level and then assess and go from there.”
Acquired at the trade deadline from Houston last year, the 25-year-old right-hander began the season in the Marlins’ rotation before an ear infection led to vertigo, and he was placed on the disabled list May 18. Prior to Jennings’ announcement, Cosart said he thought he would return as a starter, not a reliever.
“I think I have two years’ worth of a track record,” said Cosart, who went 4-4 with a 2.39 ERA in 10 starts for the Marlins last year before he sputtered to a 1-3 record and 4.08 ERA in seven starts this season.
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“Obviously I started off a little slow and then got something I couldn’t control with the vertigo. But I feel great. I feel ready to go. Like I said, I feel like I’m a starting pitcher. I know there’s a business side of it. There has to be moves made. People are going to be unhappy. But I’m happy to be back in the big leagues and hopefully help us win games and get us on a playoff push we were on when I got here last year.”
Cosart’s three minor-league rehab starts weren’t sharp. He failed to complete six innings in any of them and walked six in his last start for Double A Jacksonville on Sunday. But he said bad weather and bad calls from the umpire had a lot to do with it.
He pitched in what he called a monsoon at Round Rock, Texas, when he gave up seven hits, four earned runs and two walks in 5 1/3 innings on June 16. He said it was 107 degrees in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Sunday.
“From my understanding, my rehab starts were about getting my off-speed back,” Cosart said. “I think if you look at most major-league rehab starts, most of them aren’t going to go perfect. I was working on a lot of things. I threw I think 40 off-speed pitches last game — not something I’m going to do here. But I feel really crisp.”
The Marlins will start veteran Dan Haren on Thursday as scheduled. Rookie Justin Nicolino will start Friday against the Dodgers and Tom Koehler will start Saturday. Jennings said he hasn’t decided yet who will start Sunday.
Either way, Jennings said the Marlins are sticking with a five-man rotation for now. “If we need to adjust, then we’ll do that,” he said.
Six NHL prospects in town for this weekend’s NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise took batting practice at Marlins Park before Wednesday’s game and one managed to hit one over the wall in right field.
Lawson Crouse, a 6-4, 210-pound left winger from London, Ontario, took Marlins assistant Lenny Harris deep. Crouse, 18, said he played youth baseball until he was 14.
“It was awesome,” Crouse said of the homer. “I really didn’t expect it. I was just focused on making solid contact.”
Said Harris: “It surprised me — especially the power he’s got. I know he can hit the crap out of a hockey puck, the strength that he’s got. Try to get in front of those pucks when he’s swinging it would definitely be difficult to stop.”
The five other high-end prospects included Conner McDavid, the projected No. 1 overall pick, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, Noah Hanifan and Jack Eichel.
▪ Henderson Alvarez, the only injured starting pitcher left who isn’t pitching in rehab games or close to making a comeback, will throw a bullpen Saturday. He’s been throwing off flat ground from 120 feet for about a week now.
▪ Third baseman Martin Prado (sprained right shoulder) took ground balls Wednesday, but has not started throwing or swinging a bat yet. He’s still in the strengthening phase of recovery. He said he still feels discomfort in the shoulder and it’s more likely now he won’t be coming off the disabled list as soon as he’s eligible June 30.
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Haren (6-4, 3.19 ERA) vs. Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (4-4, 3.07), 7:10 p.m.
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Nicolino (1-0, 0.00) vs. Dodgers LHP Brett Anderson (3-4, 3.29), 7:10 p.m.