Choate throws bullpen session

JUPITER, Fla. — Randy Choate, who has been resting a fatigued right lat, threw off the mound on Saturday morning.

The Marlins lefty specialist has yet to pitch in a Grapefruit League game. He is scheduled for another mound session on Monday. If that goes well, he will face hitters in live batting practice next Wednesday, which is two weeks to Opening Day.

Choate is confident that he will be ready for when the season begins against the Cardinals on April 4 at Marlins Park.

“I don’t think it will be an issue,” Choate said of being ready for the start of the season. “I don’t think it will take as long as [other relievers]. I’ve got one guy to get ready for, so I think I’ll be in shape.”

Choate’s role pretty much is to get left-handed hitters, and often, that means he will face one or maybe two batters per outing.

The 36-year-old was one of the Marlins top relievers a year ago. He appeared in 54 games, and had a 1.82 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. But his season was cut short when he was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation on Aug. 18.

Choate said he felt some cramping and discomfort on his right side after taking some swings in the batting cage.

His elbow, he says, is fine. The issue that has slowed him in Spring Training is on his right side.

“Arm-wise, I’m fine,” he said. “We’re just being cautious, getting a little extra time.

“Wednesday will be two weeks [to Opening Day]. I’ll throw a live BP [Wednesday]. So I’d have more than a week-and-a-half to get ready. I don’t see it at an issue.”

Joe Frisaro

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