Marlins place Capps on DL with elbow sprain, call up Ellington

BY foxsports • August 3, 2015

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins placed set-up man Carter Capps on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain and called up right-handed reliever Brian Ellington prior to Monday night's game against the New York Mets.

Capps exited during the eighth inning of Miami's 5-2 walk-off victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday with right elbow stiffness and was initially listed as day-to-day. Although he was scheduled to get an MRI Monday morning, Capps didn't expect it to be serious. Last season, he missed the entire summer with a right elbow sprain but avoided Tommy John surgery.

"I think it's mostly precautionary," Capps said Monday. "I got an MRI, so that's an automatic few days of no throwing, so I think you have to have guys who can throw, and if I can't throw for a few days it puts the team in jeopardy. I think it's mostly precautionary. My arm feels great, full range of motion and everything."

The 24-year-old reliever, who regularly flirts with triple digits on the radar gun, is 1-0 with a 1.16 ERA in 30 outings this season. He felt the discomfort on his second pitch to Matt Kemp in the frame. According to Fangraphs, his 98.1 mph fastball ranks third among big-league relievers with a minimum of 20 innings. His 57 strikeouts since May 20 lead the majors.

"Put him on the 15-day just to make sure," manager Dan Jennings said. "There's no need to rush that back and having the MRI he was going to be 4-5 days anyway. Instead of trying to get him to rush back and do something, having Ellington available was big. It's another power arm in the bullpen. Hopefully it's the minimum 15 days and can be back. He's having such a phenomenal year. The other day we were sitting here looking at his numbers as they post it on the scoreboard and it's Nintendo numbers. Really crazy numbers. Hopefully it's minimal, he'll be back and things will be good for him."

With Capps on the DL, Jennings will rely on righty Bryan Morris (3-2, 2.81 ERA) and lefty Mike Dunn (1-4, 3.93 ERA) to bridge the gap to closer A.J. Ramos. Ideally, Morris-Dunn-Ramos would be the seventh through ninth formula.

Over the past weekend, the Marlins brought up rookie southpaws Adam Conley and Chris Reed. They can handle the frames before then.

"Those will be the two guys we lean on from an experience standpoint," Jennings said of Morris and Dunn. "A.J. will still be our guy in the ninth. Now that bridge to get from the starter to that eighth will be where some of those young guys will be given the opportunity to step up and see what they do."

Ellington, selected by the Marlins in the 16th round of the 2012 draft, is a 24-year-old right-hander from the University of West Florida. After going 4-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 25 outings for Double-A Jacksonville, he recently got promoted to Triple-A New Orleans where he tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Over parts of four minor-league seasons, Ellington has a 12-7 record and 3.62 ERA.

Ellington worked a scoreless ninth inning, stranding the bases loaded by fanning Lucas Duda on an 81 mph curveball in his big-league debut. He reached 98 mph several times, including on his strikeout of Michael Conforto. He hit pinch-hitter Ruben Tejada and walked Curtis Granderson before Juan Lagares singled to load the bases.

Miami also optioned infielder Donovan Solano to the Zephyrs and recalled catcher Tomas Telis. When the Marlins dealt for Telis at the trade deadline, they hoped to carry three backstops for flexibility and a switch-hitting bat. Those plans were nixed when a shorthanded bullpen got overworked on Friday.

"I can tell you that our reports on Telis -- he's a switch-hitter, swung the bat very well," Jennings said. "I personally got a chance to see him in 2011 in Hickory. Wanted to give him a look, get a chance to get a switch-hitter on the bench. Ellington's a hometown guy for us out of the 2012 Draft who has progressively just continued to get better. Really started to turn the corner last year in the Arizona Fall League, and the reports we got on him from this year have been real well with a mid-upper 90s fastball and really throwing the ball extremely well."

Telis replaced JT Realmuto behind the plate in the top of the eighth in his Marlins debut. He flied out to center to end the ballgame.

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at

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