Conley return could be delayed; Ramos on schedule

Lefty shut down for now; righty likely to be back Sunday, but will he remain closer?

Conley return could be delayed; Ramos on schedule

CINCINNATI -- Adam Conley's return to the Marlins' rotation may take longer than the club originally anticipated. Manager Don Mattingly said Thursday that the 26-year-old is being shut down for a few days in hopes of reducing the swelling in his left hand.

Conley was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Sunday with left third finger tendinitis.

"He's been to the doctor," Mattingly said. "He's got that thing in there. He's kind of shut down, for now. He's got to get the swelling out of there before he starts throwing."

As Conley deals with inflammation in his hand, Marlins closer A.J. Ramos, on the DL with a right third finger fracture, is scheduled to throw a simulated game at Pittsburgh on Friday.

Ramos slams the door

Barring a setback, the All-Star could be back with the big league club on Sunday for the series finale vs. the Pirates. But once Ramos returns, whether he will be used as a closer or in a setup situation remains to be seen. Fernando Rodney has been closing, and the midseason acquisition, who struggled in a setup role, is 4-for-4 in save opportunities while Ramos has been out.

"If he's throwing the ball good, there's no reason ... he hasn't done anything to say he shouldn't be that guy," Mattingly said of Ramos.

Ramos has saved 32-of-34 chances. But Mattingly reminded, foremost, that the club wants to make sure he is ready to pitch in back-to-back games.

"The one thing we want to be able to do with that role, is that, if it's going to be an every other day, or he can't go back-to-back situation, that's what we have to try to find out," Mattingly said. "In that role, you don't want to be flipping guys around all the time."

As for Conley, the club initially felt he could return to the rotation on the first day he was eligible to come off the DL, which would be Aug. 29, the series opener against the Mets at Citi Field.

Conley, 8-6 with a 3.94 ERA, last started on Saturday against the White Sox. He gave up five runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in four innings of a no-decision.

Miami's rotation has struggled in August, and Conley has been dealing with a bruised hand since early in the month. Jose Urena, who has struggled himself, is filling in for Conley.

When will Conley be ready?

"We'll see," Mattingly said. "They've had to shut him down a little bit. Usually, when you start shutting guys down, then it takes a buildup to get back."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for 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.