Gotta believe the Marlins are working the phones, searching around for late-inning relief help after being hit with a sudden rash of injuries to the bullpen, the most significant being the one that has put Matt Lindstrom on the shelf for at least the next six weeks.
Lindstrom was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a sprained right elbow and will not be permitted to throw for the next four weeks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Lindstrom -- in a "best-case scenario" -- could be available around the end of July.
In addition to Lindstrom, the Marlins are also without the services of right-hander Kiko Calero (DL, shoulder) and top set-up reliever Leo Nunez (sore right ankle). The Marlins expect Calero to be ready to go July 3 when his DL time is up, and Gonzalez said he doesn't think Nunez will be out for more than a day or two. Nunez left Tuesday's game due to ankle pain after facing only two batters
Still, not a single member of the bullpen that is available to pitch tonight's game owns a big-league save. Heck, one reliever -- Tim Wood -- has never appeared in a big-league game, and right-hander Chris Leroux, who was brought up from Double A Jacksonville to replace Lindstrom, has appeared in just one.
Gonzalez said he has someone in mind to close tonight if the opportunity arises, but would not reveal that player's identity, saying only "We'll see when we get there."
Asked if the front office was looking around for relief help, Gonzalez would give only the stock reply that the organization is "always looking."
Lindstrom said he first started noticing discomfort in his forearm, just below his right elbow, within the past few outings. While it has not hindered his ability to throw high 90s fastball, he said he has been unable to throw his breaking pitches -- his slider in particular -- with any authority. As a result, he has suffered meltdowns in each of his past two outings, each of them save situations. On Sunday he nearly blew a 6-3 lead to the New York Yankees. And on Tuesday, he gave up three runs in the ninth to the Baltimore Orioles after inheriting another 6-3 lead.
"It just got to the point where I couldn't finish, couldn't create an angle," Lindstrom said. "I've been looking at my mechanics on tape and it looks like my arm is coming through kind of sideways instead of over the top."
As such, Lindstrom said he has felt "a lot more" discomfort when trying to throw his slider. He threw just two sliders -- the rest fastballs -- of the 16 total pitches he threw Tuesday. One of those sliders was the last pitch he threw, one that Ty Wigginton singled up the middle for the Orioles' fourth straight hit off Lindstrom.
"They're taking precautionary measures because they don't me to blow my arm out," he said. "I want to come back and be who I need to be out there instead of worrying about it hurting each and every pitch."