Easing Lindstrom back

Marlins reliever Matt Lindstrom, on the disabled list since June 24 with a right elbow sprain, will pitch in a rehab assignment game for Class A Jupiter on Saturday.

The hard-throwing right-hander tossed a simulated game in Jupiter on Wednesday.

If all goes well, he could join the Marlins in early August, perhaps when the team heads to Washington for a three-game set beginning on Aug. 4.

“The final test will be when he goes back-to-back,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

After throwing on Saturday, he could pitch again on Monday for Jupiter. From there, he would pitch every second or third day before being used in back-to-back games.

Lindstrom last pitched for the Marlins on June 23. In 32 games, he has 14 saves in 16 chances.

When he’s ready to return, it’s not automatic that he will close. At least immediately, Gonzalez said on Friday that he’s leaning towards easing Lindstrom back.

“We may ease him into it,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s only fair for him and to the team.”

Because of the long layoff, the Marlins want Lindstrom to get sharp. Gonzalez says pitching rehab assignments is different than, say, facing hitters like Manny Ramirez.

So the thinking is to get Lindstrom work in a setup role, the sixth, seventh or eighth innings. In the meantime, Leo Nunez remains the primary closer option, with Dan Meyer being a left-handed alternative.

In other injury-related news, right-hander Anibal Sanchez is lined up to throw 50 pitches on Tuesday in a Gulf Coast League game. On the DL with a right shoulder sprain, retroactive to June 3, Sanchez threw 45 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday.

The team is in no rush to get Sanchez back. And he isn’t an option to join the rotation when a fifth starter is added either July 31 or Aug. 1.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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