Major League Baseball
Reds-Marlins preview
Major League Baseball

Reds-Marlins preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 2:44 p.m. ET

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds are teams headed in opposite directions, but they do have at least one thing in common.

Developments on Friday have both organizations looking for possible reinforcements.

The Marlins (45-41) are looking for a fifth starter after announcing earlier in the day that they were demoting Justin Nicolino to the minors for the second time this season.

Meanwhile, the Reds are likely looking for a temporary second baseman while veteran Brandon Phillips recovers from a hairline fracture on his left hand. He suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch on Friday night in Miami's 3-1, series-opening win.


Phillips could try to play with the injury, but more will be known on Saturday in the middle game of a series between the teams that concludes on Sunday.

Nicolino was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, a move that was no surprise because he was 0-5 with a 6.31 ERA in his past 10 major league starts.

His spot in the rotation will come up again after the All-Star break, on July 19.

"We're looking for the best alternative," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the Nicolino spot in the rotation. "We're not committed to 'Nico' getting the next start. We don't have to make that decision right now. We're trying to find the right combination of guys to win games."

Among the trade possibilities are Julio Teheran of the Atlanta Braves, but that would require Miami to send back significant minor league talent. The problem there is that the Marlins' farm system is thin at the moment.

Other starters who may be available include San Diego's Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, Philadelphia Jeremy Hellickson, Minnesota's Ervin Santana, Oakland's Rich Hill and Tampa Bay's Drew Smyly.

Oakland's Sonny Gray and Tampa Bay's Matt Moore are other potential targets.

Meanwhile, for the Reds, Jose Peraza stepped in and played second base after Phillips was hit by a Jose Fernandez changeup in the seventh inning.

Peraza, a 22-year-old from Venezuela, will apparently get the first shot at second base if Phillips is unable to play with the injury. Peraza originally signed with the Atlanta Braves six years ago and made his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

He has battled hamstring injuries and was acquired by the Reds this past December. After starting the 2016 season at Triple-A Louisville, Peraza made his Reds debut on May 13.

Now he may step into a larger-than-expected role.

In Saturday' game, Miami will start left-hander Adam Conley (5-5, 3.65 ERA). He is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA against the Reds, making his only appearance against Cincinnati last season.

The Reds will counter with left-hander John Lamb (1-5, 5.43 ERA). It will be his first appearance against the Marlins. The Reds have lost his past three starts and nine of his 12 for the year.


Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more