Despite the fact the Marlins are a week away from Opening Day, there are still decisions to be made about the team’s roster. The news wasn’t what the team wanted to hear with regard to pitcher Jeff Locke, who is still dealing with tendinitis that could keep him on the shelf through the month of April.
Locke was signed as a free agent from Pittsburgh and was battling for the fifth and final spot in the rotation before the injury occurred in Spring Training. He is not the only player manager Don Mattingly has to plan around as catcher AJ Ellis and third baseman Martin Prado are both nursing hamstring injuries. MLB.com is reporting Ellis (hamstring), who played three innings on Friday and will play five innings in a Minor League game on Sunday. Mattingly said the plan is for Ellis to play in a split-squad game on Tuesday.
The news with Prado is a bit different as the team will take its time with him, getting him back in the lineup when he is completely healed.
Locke, who is battling biceps tendinitis, recently threw a 15-pitch bullpen session and will throw another one in a couple of days.
"Everything is progressing still," Mattingly said. "And that's our main thing with him, start building him up. Now to get on the mound tells you he's feeling pretty good."
Should Locke show enough progress to begin throwing again, he will get in some bullpen work and work on rehab sessions before being added to the 25-man roster.
The Marlins have decisions to make on their pitching staff, adding a fifth starter amongst three potential pitchers and setting the bullpen, that could be as many as 13-pitchers deep.
"If he can continue to progress through that, then he'll be ready to go," Mattingly said.