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Redmond hoping Hand can lock down fifth spot in Marlins' rotation

Brad Hand is getting another shot at earning a spot in the Marlins rotation.

Back with the team on Wednesday following six minor league starts on rehab assignment, the left-hander will start Thursday in the final home game for the Marlins before a nine-game road trip precedes the All-Star break.

How long Hand remains in the rotation, manager Mike Redmond said Wednesday, "really is up to him."

"We'll see how it goes right?" Redmond said. "We've tried some different guys. It's an opportunity for somebody to run with it. I would love for Brad Hand to step in there and pitch great and be the guy for the rest of the season. That would be outstanding. That would make things a lot easier for all of us."

The Marlins, who rank 12th in the National League in starter's ERA (4.03), have used 10 different starting pitchers through the first half of the season. That's tied for second-most in the NL with the Padres and two fewer than the Rockies. Part of that was losing ace Jose Fernandez for the season. The other part: injuries and struggles by Jacob Turner, who is now the team's long reliever.

Hand, who began the season with the Marlins as a long reliever, was 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA and awful 1.792 WHIP in 16 appearances before he sprained his right ankle back on May 24. He made two starts earlier in the year when Turner was on the disabled list. Hand didn't do very well in either start posting a combined 11.37 ERA and not getting beyond the fourth inning in either appearance, both Marlins losses.

He did pitch well, though, during his rehab assignment going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts with 22 strikeouts and nine walks for Triple A New Orleans.

"It was nice to go down there, get some innings in and make everything comfortable again," said Hand, who in 17 career big league starts is 1-11 with a 5.38 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 47 walks. "When you're a starter you're on a routine. You get a feel for certain pitches. This [season] was the first time I threw out of the bullpen. There's a learning period."

> Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is due to come off the disabled list on Sunday and the hope is he'll be ready then. But if he isn't, the Marlins aren't going to rush him, Redmond said.

Hechavarria, who has been on the disabled list since June 21 with a right triceps strain, fielded grounders and threw to first base pre-game on Tuesday and said his arm felt fine afterward. He'll do the same on Thursday and take swings. If there are no setbacks, Redmond said, Hechavarria will begin a rehab assignment Friday in Jupiter.

> First baseman Justin Bour, called up Wednesday to take the spot of reliever A.J. Ramos on the roster, has been logging some serious airline miles over the past month. Since making his big league debut June 4, he's been optioned back and forth from Triple A New Orleans twice.

"There hasn't been much time to settle down," Bour said. "But I'm not complaining. This last trip I went from Miami to Nashville for two days, New Orleans for one day and then I got taken out of the lineup and sent back here. I'd have quite a few [airline points] this last month."

But the Marlins get those.

> Ed Lucas, who had the walk-off, game-winning hit in Wednesday's 11-inning win over the Phillies, said he received a tweet from the fan who ended up with the ball he hit.

"He said it was flipped to him," Lucas said. "He's keeping it. I've got [the baseballs] for all my firsts. So I'll remember that one."

> Tom Koehler's baby watch continues.

His wife is due to deliver their first child on Saturday. But as Redmond said Wednesday: "I know that baby is ready. Hopefully it comes around 11 or 12 o'clock tonight. Let Tommy go out there and throw a complete game first."

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (40-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Marcell Ozuna CF, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Jeff Baker 1B, 8. Donovan Solano 2B, 9. Tom Koehler RHP.

> Phillies (36-47): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 3. Marlon Byrd RF, 5. Ryan Howard 1B, 6. John Mayberry Jr. LF, 7. Cody Asche 3B, 8. Koyie Hill C, 9. Cole Hamels LHP.

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