The Marlins have placed right-hander Pablo Lopez on the 10-day injured list due to a right rotator cuff strain. The placement is retroactive to July 14. Right-hander John Curtiss has been reinstated from the 10-day IL to take Lopez’s spot on the active roster, while righty Jordan Holloway was optioned back to Triple-A after serving as the 27th man for yesterday’s doubleheader with the Phillies.
Lopez heads to the IL in the aftermath of a history-making achievement, as his last start on July 11 saw Lopez become the first MLB pitcher to ever strike out his first nine batters faced in a game. That entry into the record books has been the highlight of an overall strong season for the righty, who has a 3.03 ERA/3.48 SIERA over 101 innings for Miami and above-average strikeout (27.1%) and walk (6.1%) rates, to go along with a 47.3% grounder rate.
Lopez’s 2020 numbers were also good, and the 25-year-old is now looking like a nice building block within a Marlins pitching mix that has plenty of intriguing arms. As Man On Second’s Joe Frisaro notes, however, several of these pitchers are already nearing career highs in innings pitched, so particularly in the wake of the shortened 2020 season, it remains to be seen how the Marlins will manage their rotation innings the rest of the way.
In Lopez’s case, his previous career high was 145 1/3 IP in A-ball back in 2017, so this 10-day IL stint might act as something of a natural rest point that allows him to pitch regularly the rest of the season, assuming a relatively quick return. That said, Lopez has also had shoulder issues in the past, and the Marlins will undoubtedly carefully monitor his condition to prevent any further injury. Depending on the severity of his rotator cuff strain, it’s possible Lopez could be shut down entirely for the season, considering that Miami already seems to be looking ahead to 2022.
If the Marlins opted for a starter-by-committee or an opener/bulk pitcher approach to fill Lopez’s rotation spot, Curtiss might be in line for more “starts,” after receiving a few opener assignments with the Rays and Marlins over the last two years. Curtiss was placed on the 10-day IL due to neck stiffness back on July 4, and he has pitched well in his first season as a Marlin — a 2.67 ERA over 33 2/3 innings, despite some lackluster hard-hit ball numbers. Curtiss is controlled through the 2025 season, so the Marlins are probably less likely to move him before other relievers in potential deals prior to the July 30 trade deadline.