Possible return day for Ozuna

MIAMI — The countdown to when Marcell Ozuna is recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to the Marlins is underway. It could be a matter of days or maybe weeks.

Until it happens, it remains a guessing game. So many are trying to piece together the service time puzzle to precisely determine the exact date Miami’s Opening Day center fielder will be back in the big leagues.

Before being optioned to New Orleans on July 5, Ozuna was compiling enough big league service time to qualify as a Super 2 arbitration candidate in 2016. Now, due to his Minor League stint, he may not reach that status, and instead be arbitration eligible in 2017.

Figuring out service time on Super 2 players is always tricky because so many factors are involved.

Either way, Ozuna’s projects to become a free agent for the 2020 season. This is significant. It’s also a different time line that Jose Fernandez, who will be eligible for arbitration in ’16, and a free agent in 2019. Both Fernandez and Ozuna were rookies in 2013. The difference is Fernandez was with the club from Opening Day, while Ozuna joined later.

My educated guess is Ozuna will be with the Marlins on Aug. 15. But that day is certainly subject to change.

Worth noting

* Some good news regarding Jarred Cosart’s recovery from an inner ear disorder impacting his left ear. The right-hander, who has been in Chicago this week being examined by a specialist, is making major strides. He is expected to be in Jupiter, Fla., on Friday, and he has been cleared for full activity that day.

Best case scenario is Cosart, who was optioned to New Orleans on July 4, is a September call-up. But that is not a given. Foremost, is getting the 25-year-old healthy for 2016.

Doctors believe his condition affected him the entire season. He spent time on the DL in May with vertigo, and had a relapse a few weeks ago in New Orleans.

* Lefty prospect Justin Nicolino, a candidate to join Miami’s rotation in the final two months, gave up two runs on eight hits in a win over the Dodgers’ Triple-A squad on Tuesday. The Marlins are weighing whether to keep Brad Hand, who pitched against the Mets on Tuesday, in the rotation or bullpen. Nicolino is lined up with Hand. So if Hand isn’t starting on Sunday at Atlanta, Nicolino may get the nod.

* Justin Cohen, Miami’s sixth-round pick, in the June MLB Draft, will miss the rest of the season after fracturing a finger on his right hand. The catcher from Sarasota, Fla., suffered the injury on a foul ball.

Joe Frisaro

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