MIAMI -- The pitch was effective in that it produced a third-inning strikeout of Anthony Rendon on Wednesday. Yet don't look for the Miami Marlins' Henderson Alvarez to throw it again.
Before Friday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves, Alvarez said experimenting with a new grip on his slider prompted the premature exit from his last outing at Washington. Alvarez departed after shutting out the Nationals on 62 pitches over five innings due to elbow discomfort.
The good news for the Marlins, who already have lost ace Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery) for the remainder of the season, is that Alvarez is fine. The medical staff cleared him to throw off flat ground Friday. Now pain-free, Alvarez will throw a 20-pitch bullpen Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday at home against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"It was just discomfort," Alvarez said. "I talked to the pitching coach and the trainer and that's why I came out of the game, to try to avoid any problems."
Alvarez added that Fernandez's situation, specifically how he tried pitching through pain, did not motivate him to speak up about his barking elbow.
"The pain was from a grip, a slider I started throwing," Alvarez said. "I knew it wasn't anything to worry about. I was just experimenting there to see if it was any good. I threw it to Rendon and to (Jayson Werth), but after the third inning I didn't throw it again. I went back to the slider I throw, and the fastball and changeup."
SECOND STEPS: Placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a right elbow sprain, Carter Capps will seek a second opinion. Capps, who allowed a run on two hits his last time out Sunday against the Brewers, will remain on no-throw status for the immediate future. ...
Sidelined since the start of the season, first with a hamstring and later a groin strain, Rafael Furcal on Thursday began another rehab assignment with Class-A Jupiter. He went 0 for 3 in his first game action since May 2 as a member of Double-A Jacksonville.
LEFTIES IMPRESSIVE: Two Marlins lefty minor league starters are coming off impressive performances. Making his second Triple-A Pacific Coast League appearance on Tuesday, Andrew Heaney earned the win after shutting out Round Rock on one hit through seven innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. Heaney has allowed a run on eight hits with no walks and 14 strikeouts through his first 11 Triple-A innings.
Justin Nicolino, Heaney's ex-teammate at Double-A Jacksonville, did not allow a hit until the seventh inning of his win against Montgomery on Thursday. Nicolino over seven gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts for his second consecutive victory.
Through 11 Southern League starts, Nicolino has won four of six decisions with a 3.30 ERA, nine walks and 27 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. ...
Tuesday's rainout in Washington will be made up as part of a split doubleheader at Nationals Park on Friday, Sept. 26 at 1:05 p.m. in what originally was a season-ending three-game set.
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