Koehler feels lucky to avoid injury from comebacker

Koehler feels lucky to avoid injury from comebacker

JUPITER, Fla. -- The morning after receiving a scare, Tom Koehler was back to playing catch like normal on Tuesday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. It was a welcome sight for the Marlins, because the right-hander was struck on his throwing elbow on Monday in a Minor League game.

Koehler and the club are confident the veteran starter is dealing with nothing more than a minor bruise after the batted ball smacked him in the funny-bone area of the elbow.

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"I was honestly fortunate, because if it had gotten more muscle or bone, I'd probably have been hurting a lot more," Koehler said.

Koehler is lined up to be the No. 3 starter, but nothing has officially been announced. Manager Don Mattingly said the club will monitor the right-hander for the next couple of days to see how he's progressing.

"We dodged a bullet yesterday with Tommy," Mattingly said.

Before the Marlins headed to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets at Tradition Field, the players reported like any other day to Roger Dean Stadium. Koehler treated the morning like any other day.

"I feel fine today," Koehler said. "Just normal after pitching soreness. I got lucky. It hit me on the nerve a little bit. That's why it sent a little shock."

If it had been a regular-season game, Koehler is confident he could have continued. But because he was facing Marlins' Minor Leaguers in a controlled scrimmage, he was replaced for precautionary reasons.

No X-rays were taken.

The plan was for Koehler to reach 100 pitches in the scrimmage, but he may have been only halfway to that point.

Being held back a bit shouldn't be much of a factor in terms of getting him ready for when the season opens on April 5 against the Tigers at Marlins Park. He's already reached 90 pitches in a Grapefruit League game.

"We'll watch him the next couple of days and keep an eye on him, and make sure we don't create any swelling," Mattingly said. "But it looks like we're going to be OK with that."

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.