MIAMI -- It is taking until July for the Marlins' rotation to shape up the way the club anticipated at the end of Spring Training.
Manager Mike Redmond said Saturday afternoon that Henderson Alvarez, who has been on the disabled list all season, would join the rotation during next week's road trip.
Alvarez, recovering from right shoulder inflammation, threw his last rehab assignment start Friday night. The Venezuela native threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out seven for Double-A Jacksonville in a win over Mobile.
Exactly where the 23-year-old will fit into the rotation has not been set. The speculation is the team will trade Ricky Nolasco soon, and Alvarez could fill that spot Wednesday at Atlanta.
But until Nolasco is moved, it is all speculation.
The Marlins are just happy to finally have Alvarez ready.
"I know what he's capable of doing," Redmond said. "At the same time, we've got to get him out there and see what he can do in the big leagues. I know he's excited to start his season, and hopefully he will come out and pitch some big games for us, and log some big innings, and pick up some wins."
Alvarez was acquired as part of Miami's blockbuster trade last November with Toronto.
The Marlins opened the season with both Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Eovaldi recently returned, and he is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Padres.
At last, Miami's rotation is taking shape.
"It's a big relief, and it's taken a while," Redmond said. "Here we are almost in July, and we're just starting to have the team we thought we would have leaving Spring Training."
Marlins try to stay focused amid trade talks
MIAMI -- As July approaches, trade talk escalates.
Who may be staying or going are hot topics, and the business of the game comes into play.
With the Marlins restructuring and not currently in contention, they are being closely monitored on the trade front.
Right now, Ricky Nolasco is the most prominent Miami name being dangled. He could be moved before his next scheduled start, which would be Wednesday at Atlanta. Henderson Alvarez, on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, is primed to be reinstated and is lined up to pitch Wednesday as well.
Alvarez would be a natural replacement for Nolasco, a free agent after the season.
But as the rumors circulate, manager Mike Redmond is telling his team to focus on its performance.
"I talk to these guys about, 'Hey, just focus on what you're doing: That's what you can control. Control the things that you can control in this game.' We all talk about it as a player, and talk about it as a manager," Redmond said. "The guys who can do that are the guys who are going to continue to have the success. Just stay in the moment, and control what you can control, wherever you are out on that field. You can't control the other stuff."
The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31.
A former big league catcher, Redmond knows how the speculation can weigh on players.
"It's probably an uncomfortable situation for some guys," Redmond said. "Some guys love where they are playing. That's always the unknown for the players. You don't know who wants you and who doesn't want you. It's always kind of a hairy time for players.
"But it's part of it. Guys have families. You never know. Guys get so wrapped up. They read all the stuff, and their buddies are calling them up. There is so much information out there right now. The texting and the tweeting. In this generation, it's hard to not get involved in it. Back when I played, if you didn't want to hear about it, you didn't read the papers, and you probably wouldn't hear about it."
Marlins offer similar style as speedy Padres
MIAMI -- The style of play the Padres employ is similar to what the Marlins are striving to achieve.
San Diego has more speed but is built around pitching and defense. Like Miami, it plays in a spacious stadium -- Petco Park -- that is not conducive to home runs.
Thus far, the Padres are getting the better of the Marlins in the season series. They swept three games at San Diego in early May, and they claimed a 9-2 win Friday night in the series opener in Miami.
"I guess they're a similar team," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "They probably have a little more speed than we do. They've stolen some bases collectively throughout their lineup."
Entering Saturday, San Diego paced the National League in stolen bases with 69, while Miami had 38.
The Padres also had the fourth-fewest errors in the NL (39), compared with 49 for the Marlins, who were tied for eighth. In team ERA, the Marlins were at 3.97, with San Diego sitting at 4.06.
Miami is a better club than in early May, when key players like Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and Nathan Eovaldi were out with injuries. Before the current series, the Marlins last played the Padres May 6-8.
"We're in a different place right now than when we played there," Redmond said. "Every series is a test."