9/16/2013 11:21 P.M. ET
Mathis' return provides boost to young pitching staff
By Mike Radano / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins got a boost Monday night as catcher Jeff Mathis returned to the lineup against the Phillies.
Mathis, who had not played since Sept. 9 due to a right thumb contusion, entered the opener at Citizens Bank Park hitting .196 in 66 games, but his value as a catcher is too hard to calculate. The veteran is also an example for many of the younger players on this team that have yet to make it through a full 162-game season.
"Mathis is back, so that's nice obviously for us," manager Mike Redmond said. "He feeling good and back in the mix is good. I definitely want to see him finish the year strong. We've talked all year about how much he means to our pitching staff."
Mathis was tested early, taking a big hit from the Phillies' Domonic Brown on a play at the plate in the third. Redmond checked on his backstop, but Mathis remained in the game to catch four more innings before exiting. Redmond said afterward that Mathis was OK.
"I think [the thumb] will be sore, but at this time, there isn't as a catcher who isn't banged up," Redmond said before Miami's 12-2 loss. "It's been a long season after a long spring. It's been a physical grind and an emotional grind. Guys are tired, but it's part of playing in the big leagues and you have to finish. You have to keep fighting through it. With so many young guys, this is big for us to get through."
Redmond hopes to see young pitchers in final stretch
PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins have not officially announced their rotation through the rest of the week, but after Brian Flynn's start on Tuesday, the rotation -- jokingly written in pencil, according to manager Mike Redmond -- should go: Nathan Eovaldi on Wednesday and Henderson Alvarez on Thursday in Washington.
Eovaldi was scratched from his start last Thursday against Atlanta with a tight back,
"We're still Eovaldi set to go on Wednesday and Alvarez will throw after that," Redmond said. "We still have some spots where we could push a couple guys back, and I think we'll play that by ear. We have so many pitchers that we still want to see pitch, and it's a challenge, but it's a good challenge."
Eovaldi is 3-6 with a 3.80 ERA in 15 starts. Even with National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Fernandez shut down after clearing the 170-innings plateau, the Marlins have young arms like Eovaldi, Jacob Turner and Alvarez to see pitch with an eye on next season.
"Turner, Alvarez and those guys, we still want them to pitch," Redmond said. "The others we're playing by ear."
Former Marlin Kotsay announces retirement
PHILADELPHIA -- Veteran Mark Kotsay announced he will retire after a 17-year Major League career. Currently with San Diego, Kotsay began his career with the Marlins from 1997-2000 before his first stint with San Diego.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond played three seasons with Kotsay and called him upon hearing the news.
"I just told him 'Congratulations,'" Redmond said. "He was a great teammate, a great guy. He's had a tremendous career. We came up through the Minor Leagues together. I know he will have a chance at some point look back on his career and be excited, and know he was fortunate to have such an impact on these guys' careers and lives."
Kotsay played 14 games for the 1997 World Series-champion Marlins and entered Monday with a .276 career average and 127 career home runs, 31 for the Marlins.
• Giancarlo Stanton was in the lineup Monday after he was hit in the hand by a pitch Sunday. Redmond indicated Stanton was fine.
• Redmond managed his first game against Phillies interim Ryne Sandberg on Monday. Redmond has had a few brief conversations with Sandberg, who also hails from Spokane, Wash.
• Donovan Solano entered the night with hits in six consecutive games and 11 of his last 12. In that stretch, he has hit .289 (13-for-45) with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBIs.
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.