Conley could return from DL in three weeks

Lefty began throwing program after being cleared by specialist

Conley could return from DL in three weeks

NEW YORK -- After seeing a specialist in New York on Monday, Adam Conley was cleared to start his throwing program. On Tuesday in Miami, the Marlins' left-hander played catch for the first time since he went on the disabled list with a bruised hand on Aug. 14.

If Conley progresses on schedule, he could be ready to return in about three weeks, or around the Sept. 19-21 series against the Nationals at Marlins Park.

"The process has started," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, it's been a while, he's been down 16 days."

Conley, 8-6 with a 3.94 ERA in 24 starts, last pitched on Aug. 13 against the White Sox. But he has been dealing with discomfort in his hand since the first week of August, when he accidently slammed it on the ceiling of the dugout at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The Marlins list Conley's injury as tendinitis of his third finger. Conley had been pitching through the discomfort, and his velocity began to dip. Rather than risk further aggravating the hand, the Marlins placed Conley on the DL.

Because Conley was shut down, it will take roughly 21 days to build back into game condition. The club would welcome back Conley, one of its most promising young starters.

"Once you shut down for 16 days, it takes a little bit to get back," Mattingly said.

The Marlins could also be getting left-hander Wei-Yin Chen back later in September, too.

Chen, on the DL with a left elbow sprain since July 25, continues his throwing program.

"He's doing well," Mattingly said. "His stuff was surprisingly good, from the first day I've seen him. He's progressed with breaking balls. Part of that process now is of him building up and being in some sim games and things like that. We're moving in that direction with him."

Being without Chen and Conley took two left-handers out of the rotation.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner, whose Sunday start at home against the Padres was skipped due to a blister on his third finger, is scheduled to start on Friday at Cleveland. More on his status, however, will be known after he throws his bullpen session on Wednesday.

Worth noting

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax spent some time with the Marlins and Mattingly on Tuesday. Mattingly has known Koufax for years, and Mattingly saw Koufax more regularly when he was the manager of the Dodgers.

"I love seeing Sandy," Mattingly said. "It's just a pleasure to be around him. I'm just thankful he came out. I talked with him the other day, and he was thinking, 'I might show up in New York.' It was cool to be able to see him. I know a couple of guys got to say hello. They were excited to see him."

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.