Alvarez plays catch, but won't start this weekend

Hand gets nod Sunday as Marlins adjust rotation with ace nursing oblique injury

Alvarez plays catch, but won't start this weekend

MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez played catch on Friday at Marlins Park and felt hardly any discomfort in his left oblique. That doesn't mean Alvarez will be available to make his scheduled start on Sunday against the Braves, but it does clear him to throw a bullpen session by the end of the weekend.

To accommodate Alvarez's recovery, manager Mike Redmond modified the rotation, slotting Brad Hand in for Sunday's series finale with the Braves and Brad Penny for Monday's series opener with the Brewers in Milwaukee. Tom Koehler will start Tuesday's game.

Alvarez, whose oblique strain was announced Monday after his 2 1/3-inning, four-run outing against the Mets, has been nursing the injury since he pitched against the Angels in Anaheim on Aug. 27. He's had a rough last month, as right shoulder inflammation landed him on the 15-day disabled list in early August, causing him to miss a few starts. The Marlins are hoping he won't have to miss many more.

"Pain was gone and just seemed to feel like he was ready to throw a bullpen, so that's good news," Redmond said. "It's just a matter now of when [he throws] it and how that goes as far as his availability for a start. We'll figure out where that will be."

Alvarez is 10-6 with a 2.88 ERA and 14 quality outings in 26 starts (159 1/3 innings) this season. Hand, meanwhile, has struggled as a spot starter, posting a 2-6 record and 4.82 ERA in 12 starts. But he has accumulated six quality games of his own.

In his most recent turn as a starter on Aug. 24, Hand allowed the Rockies four runs on seven hits, two of which were homers, in 4 1/3 innings in Colorado.

On Monday, Penny will make his second consecutive start and fourth of the season. Since joining the Marlins on Aug. 9, he's been part of both the rotation and the relief corps and has yielded 12 earned runs in 16 1/3 innings.

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.