MIAMI — The ever-changing fifth spot in the Miami Marlins rotation will not be decided until next week.
With off days on both Monday and Thursday, manager Mike Redmond doesn’t need another arm until next Sunday’s series finale at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies.
Right-handers Jarred Cosart and Nathan Eovaldi will start Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, at Marlins Park against the Texas Rangers. Henderson Alvarez will pitch Friday and Tom Koehler Saturday in Denver.
That leaves either righty Brad Penny or lefty Brad Hand as the starter for Sunday.
"Probably just a feel thing I guess," Redmond said. "Gives us a couple days to think about it. I was hoping for one of them to make it a clear and easy decision and it hasn’t been. Do we want to go with the guy who has the experience or a young guy? That’ll be my decision, and I’ll work on that the next couple of days. Try to decide what’s best for us and winning ballgames."
Since rejoining the rotation July 3, Hand is 2-4 with a 3.79 ERA over nine starts. The 24-year-old has pitched at least seven innings in four of the past six.
Penny, who signed a minor-league deal in June, has made two starts — his first since 2011. He is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA. In 10 innings, Penny has given up six runs (five earned) on nine hits with seven walks and six strikeouts.
The 36-year-old will be available out of the bullpen on Saturday. Hand tossed seven innings on Friday.
"Over the next few days those guys will pitch out of the bullpen if we need them," Redmond said. "Give us some more depth."
With right-hander Anthony DeSclafani optioned to make room on the 25-man roster for Alvarez, the club doesn’t have a long reliever. Should a starter have a short outing or get hurt, Hand or Penny could fill that role for the bullpen.
"We might need a guy for an extended outing out of the bullpen before that and it might make our decision easier going forward," Redmond said. "There’s a little bit of that unknown of what’s going to happen in the next three or four days. At least that does get us some more depth with a guy who can bounce in there if something happens."