Marlins designate Morris for assignment

Marlins designate Morris for assignment

MIAMI -- Bryan Morris was hopeful to be back in the big leagues in September, but on Tuesday, with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Marlins decided to designate the 29-year-old reliever for assignment.

Morris opened the year with Miami in a setup role, but he went on the disabled list on May 26 with a herniated lumbar disc. The right-hander underwent surgery, and he progressed to the point where he was pitching in game situations in recent weeks.

Last Saturday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., Morris pitched in a simulated game. But in order for the Marlins to reinstate the right-hander from the 60-day disabled list for the final few weeks, the organization would have had to make a corresponding 40-man roster move.

"The main thing is we had roster issues," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's on the 60, and we didn't have any roster spots. We were just in a tough spot. For him to be activated was going to mean somebody here was going home. We just got caught, roster-wise. It's unfortunate."

Morris now has a chance to hook up with another team for the remaining games this season.

Morris made 24 appearances and logged 17 2/3 innings this season with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. His most recent big league game was on May 24 against the Rays.

The Marlins acquired Morris from the Pirates in 2014 for the 39th overall pick, and he made an immediate impact in a setup role. In 40 2/3 innings with Miami that year, his ERA was 0.66.

In 2015, Morris began to experience back issues, and went on the disabled list last June 8 with a lower-back strain. He finished the '15 season with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 67 games.

In his first season of arbitration eligibility, Morris made $1.35 million, and Mattingly noted the right-hander could still be part of the club's plans for 2017.

"Bryan is a guy we like," Mattingly said. "We know that he is capable, and to me, he still could be part of the future. But right now, with [12] days left, this is kind of what we've gotten to."

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.