MIAMI -- Colin Rea, off to a strong start in his Marlins debut Saturday, left with one out in the fourth inning with right elbow soreness on a night Miami rolled to an 11-0 win over the Cardinals at Marlins Park.
Acquired from the Padres on Friday to help solidify the rotation, Rea experienced some discomfort earlier in the game, but felt he couldn't go on after his two-seam fastball velocity dipped to 86.8 mph on his final pitch, which struck out Jedd Gyorko to lead off the fourth.
In the next couple of days, the club will continue to evaluate Rea, who is listed as day to day.
"I just kind of felt something in my elbow, and it gradually got worse throughout the game," Rea said. "I don't know if I could have thrown another pitch. We'll see. We don't know anything yet."
Rea said he will ice the elbow for now, and may get an MRI exam in a few days.
By the third inning, catcher Jeff Mathis could tell Rea wasn't as strong as he was earlier.
"The ball wasn't coming out as good," Mathis said. "He was still locating it, but it wasn't coming out as hard.
"It wasn't coming out quite as hard as it was in the first and second innings."
After striking out Gyorko, Rea motioned with his glove hand to the dugout. Manager Don Mattingly and assistant trainer Mike Kozak headed to the mound, and after a brief discussion, Rea walked slowly to the dugout. He was replaced by David Phelps in a game the Marlins were leading, 4-0.
"He just didn't feel right," Mattingly said. "That was enough for us. Obviously, we're going to be cautious."
Prior to showing any discomfort, Rea was breezing, striking out four while walking none in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He threw 44 pitches, 28 for strikes. The lone hit Rea allowed was a single to Kolten Wong to open the third inning.
In the fourth, Rea struck out Gyorko on six pitches, but his velocity dipped in the inning. His two-seam fastball was as high as 88.1 mph on his second-to-last pitch of the night. Rea's velocity was 90.8 mph on his two-seamer in the third inning.
Rea traveled cross country on Friday, and on Saturday, he was getting acquainted with his new teammates while also handling the assignment of facing the Cardinals.
After completing the deal, the Marlins were hopeful they solidified their rotation. Cashner will make his Miami debut in Sunday's rubber game with St. Louis.
The Marlins are continuing to explore the market for options before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Potential pitchers to replace Rea are Jose Urena, who was optioned on Saturday to Triple-A New Orleans, Justin Nicolino and perhaps switching Phelps from the bullpen to the rotation.
Rea on Saturday was making his 19th start and 20th appearance of the season, and he's logged 102 2/3 innings this year.
Rea has dealt with elbow soreness in the past. Last Sept. 8, he was shut down because of it during his rookie season in San Diego. He had thrown 31 2/3 innings in the big leagues after throwing 101 2/3 innings over two Minor League stops.
"It's a little different. I feel it a little more now than I did then," Rea said. "But we don't know anything yet."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.