David Phelps, who has started the past five games he has appeared in, is back in the bullpen, for now at least.
Phelps hasn’t pitched since Aug. 26 because of an oblique strain, but he was available as a reliever on Sunday, according to manager Don Mattingly.
As a starter this year, Phelps is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in five opportunities. As a reliever, he is 5-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 50 appearances.
“We had him in the pen today,” Mattingly said after Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Dodgers. “We knew we wouldn’t be able to start him [right away coming off the injury].”
Mattingly said the Marlins will try to get Phelps one inning of work in a low-pressure situation before trying to expand his role.
Meanwhile, Phelps has been so good and so versatile this season that it’s hard to ascertain where he will be used next season.
Jose Urena’s brilliant performance on Sunday — 8 2/3 innings of scoreless ball — gives the Marlins hope that he could be part of a 2017 rotation that includes Jose Fernandez, Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler and Adam Conley.
That assumes that Andrew Cashner leaves as a free agent after this season and that the Marlins don’t add a veteran, although both of those scenarios are subject to change.
Phelps could slide back to the eighth-inning role, setting up for closer A.J. Ramos. That assumes that another impending free agent, reliever Fernando Rodney, also signs elsewhere.
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Marlins, who are chasing the Giants, Mets and Cardinals in the NL wild-card standings, have less than a 1 percent chance to make the playoffs this year — 0.8 percent, to be precise, according to fangraphs.com. The Marlins trail the Mets by five games for the second NL wild card.
▪ Derek Dietrich made just his third start of the season in left field on Sunday. He started 45 games there last year. Dietrich has made 69 starts at second base this year, but that is not as much of an option now that Dee Gordon is back from his 80-game drug suspension. Dietrich has also started 12 games at first base and six at third. Third base could be Dietrich’s position next year if Martin Prado, a pending free agent, does not re-sign. Prado has had a big year and figures to have lucrative options.
▪ Due primarily to ankle and leg injuries, Justin Bour has not homered since June 30. He started on Sunday. It was just his fifth game since his last homer and his third since he came off the disabled list.
▪ Left-hander Braxton Garrett, the Marlins’ first-round pick, is set to make his pro debut during the instructional league, which starts Saturday in Jupiter. Since he just graduated from high school a couple of months ago, the Marlins are being conservative and do not want to overtax his arm.
▪ Right-hander Tyler Kolek, the Marlins’ first-round pick in 2014 who has been rehabbing follow elbow surgery, has begun throwing again. He will also be at instructional league, and the Marlins are confident that he will be able to start 2017 healthy.
▪ When the Arizona Fall League begins on Oct. 5, the Marlins will have eight players represented, including outfielder Yefri Perez, who is currently in the majors and being used as a pinch-runner.
Other Marlins prospects set to report to Arizona are third baseman Brian Anderson, shortstop Austin Nola, outfielder Dexter Kjerstad, right-handers Jeff Brigham and Drew Steckenrider, and left-handers Jarlin Garcia and James Buckelew. Garcia, the top-rated lefty in the Marlins organization, got into just nine games this year (1-3, 4.54 ERA at Double A Jacksonville) because of a triceps injury.
Miami resident and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Puig, who won the women’s tennis competition as an unseeded player, is Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medalist in any sport. She wore blue jeans, an orange Marlins No. 1 jersey and her gold medal when she took the mound.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Cashner (5-11, 4.77 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 4.16), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jake Esch (0-1, 4.50) at Braves TBA, 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.