Miami Marlins

Marlins send Cosart to minors; Nicolino to start Wednesday

Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart was sent to the minors Tuesday after going winless, in three starts.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart was sent to the minors Tuesday after going winless, in three starts. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

The same troubling pitching signs that caused Jarred Cosart to spend most of last season in the minors prompted his return.

The Marlins on Tuesday optioned Cosart to Triple-A New Orleans.

Cosart has battled wildness while going 0-1 with a 7.98 ERA in his three starts.

He’s walked 15 with two wild pitches in 14 2/3 innings, and issued six walks in each of his past two starts, including Friday’s outing in San Francisco.

Manager Don Mattingly said the Marlins will call up left-hander Justin Nicolino to start Wednesday against the Dodgers in Cosart’s place.

“We feel like he’s going to be a big part of what we’re going to end up doing,” Mattingly said. “But at this moment we felt like he’s going to be best served by being able to make sure he’s got everything together and be able to come up and be effective.”

Before Tuesday's game against the Dodgers on April 26, 2016, Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about the move to send starting pitcher Jarred Cosart to the minors and bringing up Justin Nicolino.

Last season, Cosart’s issues were attributed to vertigo. But that problem was corrected, supposedly, and there’s been no indication that he’s dealing with it once again.

Cosart was coming off a spring in which he pitched 9 2/3 innings without allowing a run. His fastball command appeared solid, staying consistently around 94-96 mph. But following his most recent loss in San Francisco, Cosart’s velocity dipped and he said a recent move in his mechanics to lower his hands to his belt at the start of his delivery “did not feel natural.”

During a bullpen session Sunday, Cosart was seen throwing with his hands high again as he began his delivery. Cosart is expected to make his first start Thursday in New Orleans.

“He had 30-some baserunners in 16 innings,” Mattingly said. “That’s not a very good recipe. I think we all know how good Jarred’s stuff is and this is really nothing more for us than giving him a chance to get it together and be able to come back and compete. We still have a lot of confidence in him and what he’s capable of doing.”

Nicolino went 5-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 12 starts last season (74 innings pitched) and was one of the pitchers being seriously considered for the starting rotation during spring training.

Nicolino was the Marlins’ 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The 6-3, 190-pound Orlando native has relied more on his off-speed stuff, pitching with a lot of movement during his brief career. Last season, he finished with only 23 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Mattingly referred to Nicolino as the team’s “sixth guy” in the rotation during the spring, and had mixed emotions about him opening the season in the minors.

So far this season in the minors, Nicolino is 2-2 in four starts (25 innings) with a 3.60 ERA with 13 strikeouts and five walks. He went six innings in three of his starts and seven in the most recent.

“He’s a guy that gives up some hits, but keeps himself in games,” Mattingly said. “He went over five [innings] plus in every game. He’s just a guy going about his work, going about his business in a professional manner. We expect him to come up and pitch well.”

PRADO RETURNS

As for Cosart’s roster spot, the Marlins reinstated third baseman Martin Prado from the paternity list. The Marlins also announced that left-hander Chris Narveson, who had been designated for assignment, was outrighted to New Orleans.

Prado said the past four days were “an adventure” as he found out he would be a father late Thursday night in San Francisco and flew back to Miami to be with his wife as they welcomed their first daughter, Martina. Prado said their baby was born two weeks earlier than expected.

“I was called at about 3 o’clock in the morning,” Prado said. “Fortunately, my agent could find me a ticket and I was able to make it in time. It was very exciting for me and an exciting three days. I finally got some rest last night.”

MONDAY’S GAME

Derek Dietrich tripled in the sixth inning and Giancarlo Stanton homered and doubled to back up a solid start by Wei-Yin Chen as the Marlins secured a 3-2 win against the Dodgers. Chen pitched into the seventh inning for the third consecutive start and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and a walk and struck out four. A.J. Ramos picked up his second save in as many games.

COMING UP

Wednesday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (season debut) vs. Dodgers LHP Scott Kazmir (1-1, 6.63 ERA), 10:10 p.m., Dodger Stadium.

Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (1-2, 4.37 ERA) vs. Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (3-0, 0.36 ERA), 10:10 p.m., Dodger Stadium.

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