Marlins reliever Carter Capps will travel to Pensacola on Monday to have his right arm checked by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
He’s hoping the visit with Andrews turns out the same way as in 2014, when the pitcher was dealing with pain and soreness in this throwing elbow.
“He strongly advised against surgery then, so you never know what they’re going to say,” Capps said. “I’m just kind of in the wait-and-see stage still.”
But Capps is prepared for any outcome, including Tommy John surgery, should that turn out to be the recommendation. One way or the other, the Marlins aren’t counting on having Capps on the mound for them anytime soon.
“It’s going to be an extended period of time no matter what happens” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
The Marlins were counting on Capps as a key piece in the back end of their bullpen, perhaps even as their closer.
But he experienced soreness while warming up Sunday, and with his history of arm issues, the decision was made quickly to have the arm examined.
“On the mound, stuff comes out really good,” Capps said. “It’s just really painful right at the end [of the delivery] right now. It just kind of crept up, like tightness, and then it started progressing something more. I never felt it pop or anything.”
Capps had a MRI on Monday.
“They looked at the MRI and said there’s some stuff there,” Capps said. “But is it old? Is it new? You never know. So we’re just going to get [Andrews’] opinion, because he did read mine a couple of years go, and see what he thinks. He’s seen thousands of these, so he knows best.”
Capps spent time on the disabled list in 2014 with elbow issues and missed the final two months of last season for the same reason.
“Obviously, you never want to go have surgery,” Capps said. “But peace of mind would be nice. We’ll figure out something definite.”
Even though the Marlins have made clear that they expect Tom Koehler to be in their starting rotation, the veteran right-hander doesn’t consider himself a lock.
“Nobody’s told me anything,” Koehler said after first Grapefruit League outing on Thursday. “I haven’t sat down with anyone and they said ‘Hey, you’re on the team.’ As far as I’m concerned, there’s two pitchers that have secure spots on this team. So I view it as I’m still battling for one, whether that be the case or not.”
The Marlins have said all along that Koehler, Jose Fernandez and Wei-Yin Chen are in the rotation. It’s the other two openings that are up for grabs. This is Koehler’s sixth spring with the Marlins, but the first in which he has gone in with job security.
Koehler gave up three runs in his spring debutw, which consisted of 41 pitches, as the Marlins began Grapefruit League play with a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.
Like most hurlers this time of year, Koehler wasn’t throwing to his typical protocol.
“There were a couple of counts where I was 1-1 and I threw a pitch that I normally wouldn’t,” he said. “There were a couple of sequences that were different than what they might be during the season.”
Marcell Ozuna is hoping Thursday’s 2-for-2 performance is a sign of better days to come. Ozona homered in his first at bat of the spring, a solo shot to left off Tyler Lyons, and singled in his second.
“I see the progress from my offseason workouts,” said Ozuna, who showed up 20 pounds . lighter this spring. “What you saw today was part of the progress I made in the offseason.”
New Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds, who has been working with Ozuna, expressed delight with the homer.
“He said, ‘That’s what I want you do,’” Ozuna said Bonds told him upon his return to the dugout after circling the bases.
Justin Maxwell also homered Thursday for the Marlins.
Friday — (Split squad) Marlins LHP Adam Conley vs. Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez, 1:05 p.m., Jupiter; Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino at New York Mets RHP Logan Verrett, 1:10 p.m., Port St. Lucie.
Saturday — Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chin vs. St. Louis Cardinas LHP Marco Gonzalez, 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.