More changes are coming to the Miami Marlins’ starting rotation.
Marlins manager announced Tuesday night after the Marlins’ 7-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that starting pitcher Jose Urena, the team’s Opening Day starter for the past two seasons, will be placed on the 10-day Injured List with low-back tightness. Jordan Yamamoto, the team’s No. 17 prospect according to MLBPipeline who was obtained in the Christian Yelich trade, will been activated in Urena’s place and will make his MLB debut when the Marlins close out their three-game series Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.
Yamamoto, 23, has played with the Marlins’ Double A affiliate Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp all season, putting together a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts with 64 strikeouts to 25 walks over 65 1/3 innings. His last start was Friday, so he is on regular four-day rest heading into his MLB debut Wednesday. He is already on the Marlins’ 40-man roster.
He came to the Marlins in January 2018 from the Milwaukee Brewers along with Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison and Isan Diaz as part of the trade for Yelich. The Brewers drafted Yamamoto in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Saint Louis High in Honolulu, Hawaii — the same school that produced a pair of big-name quarterbacks in the Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota and the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Yamamoto’s scouting report, per MLBPipeline: “Undersized and not overpowering, Yamamoto compensates with a high spin rate that allows his 87-92 mph fastball to play better than its below-average velocity. His downer curveball has been a consistent plus pitch for him and he uses it extensively, sometimes throwing it with harder, shorter break. His fading changeup keeps hitters off his fastball and generates ground-ball contact.
“Yamamoto doesn’t have much margin for error and helps his cause by pounding the strike zone. If he can prove he’s durable enough to hold up as a starter, he could eventually fit in the middle of Miami’s rotation.”
Urena, meanwhile, heads to the IL after going 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA through his first 13 starts this season. He had a streak of nine consecutive games pitching at least six innings — eight of which he gave up no more than three runs — snapped on Friday night when he gave up six earned runs on 11 hits in a 7-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday to begin the Marlins’ nine-game homestand.
Mattingly said head athletic trainer Dustin Luepker informed him about the severity of Urena’s injury during batting practice on Tuesday and that Urena would need to be shut down for his next start.
“He’s been getting a little bit of treatment for it, so it wasn’t something that was totally out of the blue,” Mattingly said. “But it wasn’t something we thought was anything. Then after his [bullpen on Monday], when he comes in today, it was a different thing. Obviously we’re going to make sure we get that checked out.”
After going the first 64 games with just five starting pitchers, the Miami Marlins used No. 6 on Tuesday when Elieser Hernandez started for Caleb Smith, who was placed on the 10-day Injured List on Friday with left-hip inflammation. Hernandez threw a career-long 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts but was charged with three earned runs on five hits, one walk and one hit batter in a 7-1 loss.
Yamamoto will be No. 7 when he takes the mound Wednesday night.