ST. PETERSBURG -- Leo Nunez is now able to pitch. He's just not ready to close. Not initially.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said Nunez, who hasn't pitched since Tuesday due to a sore right ankle, will be available tonight. But Gonzalez said he doesn't want to hand the 9th inning role over to Nunez until he shows the ankle isn't a factor.
"I'm not going to put a guy out there who we don't know how he's going to react in a game to close out a game," Gonzalez said. "It's hard for me to say 'You're healthy,' and then throw him out there. So if we're going to use him, we're going to use him early on in a game and back him up with Dan Meyer, or somebody else."
Once Nunez shows the ankle is no longer a concern, Gonzalez said he would give him an opportunity to close. But Gonzalez also said that, with Matt Lindstrom on the disabled list until late July, he doesn't have a definitive closer.
"I said he (Nunez) would get an opportunity," Gonzalez said. "When he shows he's healthy, and he's ready to go and when Meyer can't go. We could go back and forth (between Nunez and Meyer)."
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, DH; 5. Ross Gload, 1b; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. Cody Ross, cf; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Brett Carroll, rf. ON THE MOUND: RHP Chris Volstad
Rays: 1. B.J. Upton, cf; 2. Carl Crawford, lf; 3. Evan Longoria, 3b; 4. Carlos Pena, 1b: 5. Ben Zobrist, 2b; 6. Pat Burrell, dh; 7. Jason Bartlett, ss; 8. Gabe Gross, rf; 9. Michael Hernandez, c; ON THE MOUND: Scott Kazmir.