Colin Rea, the Marlins hardly knew ye.
Only three days after trading for Rea, the Marlins on Monday returned the pitcher to San Diego as damaged goods.
The Padres gave back minor-league pitcher Luis Castillo, who was part of the original seven-player exchange between the two teams on Friday.
Rea made an early exit in his only start with the Marlins on Saturday, completing just 3 1/3 innings before coming out with an arm injury that was later diagnosed as a right elbow sprain.
Clearly, the Marlins weren’t pleased with the situation.
Publicly, at least, they are providing few details about how Monday’s return trade came about.
“In the end, we just felt like it was in the best interests of both clubs to make the trade and move forward,” Marlins president Michael Hill said.
The Marlins had acquired Rea and starting pitcher Andrew Cashner from the Padres to bolster their rotation. The Marlins gave up Castillo, Jarred Cosart, Josh Naylor and Carter Capps to complete the swap.
But Rea’s time with the Marlins was short-lived.
Rea told reporters after his injury-shortened outing that he felt tightness in his arm while warming up in the bullpen before Saturday’s start. He said that the discomfort became more pronounced as the game progressed.
The Marlins placed Rea on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday.
On Monday, as Rea was undergoing a MRI in Miami, the Marlins traded him back to the Padres.
Before finalizing Friday’s deal with the Padres, Hill said the Marlins had received Rea’s medical records, which is standard procedure. Hill said the team’s medical staff did not detect anything amiss at the time.
“When we made the trade, there was no concerns there,” Hill said.
In the end, what was a seven-player trade turned into a five-player deal.
And while Rea was going back to the Padres, Castillo was on his way back to rejoin Single A Jupiter.
With Rea no longer in the picture, the Marlins could turn to David Phelps to fill the vacant rotation spot.
It was Phelps who came out of the bullpen on Saturday to take over for Rea. Phelps threw 55 pitches in emergency relief and could be primed to move into the rotation.
“We’re definitely thinking about Phelps,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He threw 55 [pitches] the other day. That’s the most he’s thrown in a while. He’s a little bit stretched out. He’s definitely a consideration for that spot.”
Phelps made 19 starts last season for the Marlins and has gone 16-19 with a 4.36 ERA in 59 career starts in the majors.
Phelps has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Marlins this season.
But Mattingly said he believes the Marlins have enough back-end help in the bullpen to make up for the loss of Phelps.
“We’ve got the flexibility to do that,” Mattingly said.
First baseman Justin Bour’s return to the Marlins has been delayed once again by an ankle injury that has taken longer-than-expected to heal. The Marlins were hopeful that Bour could join the team in Chicago. But Mattingly said those plans changed after Bour experienced soreness in his injured ankle during Sunday’s minor-league rehab game.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (12-5, 2.79 ERA) at Chicago Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (10-5, 3.23), 8:05 p.m., Wrigley Field.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-8, 4.18) at Chicago Cubs RHP John Lackey (8-7, 3.69), 2:20 p.m., Wrigley Field.