Chen gets in 95 pitches during Saturday's rainout

Opening Day starter stays on track for Marlins' April 5 opener

Chen gets in 95 pitches during Saturday's rainout

JUPITER, Fla. -- Inclement weather didn't completely shut Wei-Yin Chen down on Saturday. For the second straight night, the Marlins were washed out, but their Opening Day starter still threw in a covered cage at the Astros' complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

After Saturday's game was postponed, the rest of the Marlins returned to Jupiter, but Chen stayed back and tossed 95 pitches, allowing him to remain on track to face the Tigers in the opener at Marlins Park on April 5.

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"Of course it's different because we don't have a hitter in the batter's box," Chen said through his interpreter on Sunday morning. "We just have someone standing there. I tried to simulate a game situation and figure out, what should I throw? Of course it's different, but I tried to make it real."

Pitching coach Juan Nieves was among those who simulated a batter.

Heavy rains have come at a bad time for the Marlins because pitchers and position players are finalizing their routines as they get ready for the regular season.

On Friday, Miami's lone night game at Roger Dean Stadium was called off against the Nationals. David Phelps was scheduled to start, but instead he pitched in the cages. Among those simulating a batter was manager Don Mattingly.

"[Chen] got a good workout in, but it's not the same as a game," Mattingly said. "I'd like to pretend that it is, but you do have to throw pitches. If he's putting the effort in, it's a simulation."

For Chen, Saturday was going to be a heavy workload day. The lefty was going to push toward 100 pitches and then be scaled back in his Spring Training finale, which will be on Thursday against the organization's Triple-A New Orleans club.

Because Chen just threw 95 pitches, that's still the plan.

"Still, I think I'm almost ready," Chen said. "In my next start, I will try to get in everything that I don't have now ready for the season."

The Marlins will wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule in Jupiter on Wednesday, and the club will face New Orleans at Marlins Park on Thursday night before taking on the Yankees for exhibitions on Saturday and Sunday in Miami.

Jose Fernandez will start Friday against New York, and the team is leaning toward using all relievers on Saturday.

Pitchers haven't been the only ones hindered by the weather. Position players also are getting out of their routines.

"That concerns me," Mattingly said. "Obviously, the starter is getting his pitch count up. Relievers, usually you can get them back in there for an inning and get that worked out. With hitters, it kind of concerns me a little bit because two days after you've got a couple of 100 at-bats is nothing. But two days now, or a day now really, after feeling good, you may have a day off, and walk back into Spring Training and go, 'What happened?'"

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.