Ayala and bullpen alternatives
Relief help is on its way for the Marlins.
The bullpen has been heavily taxed the past two games, combining to throw 13 2/3 innings, including 7 1/3 innings in Friday’s 9-5 loss to the Padres.
After the game, Chris Volstad was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, along with infielder Gaby Sanchez. The Marlins have yet to announce who will get called up. Reliever Luis Ayala, who last pitched an inning on Wednesday, is expected to be recalled from New Orleans.
Ayala has thrown multiple innings, but the Malrins are in need of long relief, because both Cristhian Martinez and Brian Sanches each have thrown more than two innings the past two days.
Tim Wood could be an option. The right-hander threw an inning on Thursday, and two more on Tuesday.
In the past two games, Anibal Sanchez and Volstad each combined to throw 5 1/3 innings for Florida, creating a tough situation for the bullpen.
Rosters expand on Tuesday, Sept. 1, and the Marlins will then be in position to better pick up their relievers.
Burke Badenhop could help the team right now, but on Friday, he threw 3 1/3 innings in a rehab assignment for Class A Jupiter. Badenhop is a possibility to replace Volstad in the rotation. So is Rick VandenHurk, who tossed six innings at New Orleans on Thursday.
Lefty Andrew Miller is pitching rehab games in the Gulf Coast League.
Before Friday’s game, manager Fredi Gonzalez said Miller and VandenHurk are likely candidates to pitch out of the bullpen when rosters expand. They may be counted on to start, if necessary.
The Marlins also are pursuing Brad Penny, who is expected to clear waivers and become a free agent on Monday. Penny, released by the Red Sox, also is drawing interest from the Giants.
– Joe Frisaro