WSH@MIA: Hechavarria knocks a three-run shot to left

MIAMI -- As several Marlins players were working on bunting Friday afternoon, Adeiny Hechavarria was playing catch in left field.

The 24-year-old shortstop, on the disabled list with a bruised right elbow, continues to make steady strides to returning.

Barring any setback, the Marlins are hopeful that Hechavarria will be ready for reinstatement the first day he is eligible, which is May 2 at Philadelphia.

The Marlins open a four-game series against the Phillies that day, and Hechavarria should be available.

"Things are progressing for him," manager Mike Redmond said. "He did some more throwing today. He's on track to be available on May 2, which is obviously a good sign. It's relatively a short-term thing for him."

Chris Valaika started at shortstop on Friday, and Nick Green has also played the position in the past week.

"They've done a nice job," Redmond said. "This is a good opportunity for them to get some at-bats."

Hechavarria, however, is one of the core young players on a revamped Miami roster.

"He's a big part of our team and our defense," Redmond said. "It will be nice to get Hech back."

Loria says he wasn't involved in twin-bill switch

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MIAMI -- In response to a report that surfaced Friday morning, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria denied that he was behind the Marlins' late decision to switch starting pitchers for Tuesday's day-night doubleheader at Minnesota.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that Loria called for the Marlins to go with Jose Fernandez in Game 1 instead of Ricky Nolasco.

In response, Loria told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports on Friday: "I had nothing to do with the decision. I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call.

"I don't make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it -- that's not my role. Sometimes they call me and tell me what they're doing. But I don't call them up and say, 'This is what is going to happen.' That's not true."

Before Miami faced Chicago on Friday night, manager Mike Redmond said it was a group decision.

"We were all on the call," Redmond said. "It was an organizational decision. I'm going to leave it at that."

Initially, Nolasco was set to pitch the first game at 2:10 p.m. ET, and Fernandez was lined up for the 8:10 p.m. ET nightcap.

But mid-morning, the Marlins made the switch, which caught Nolasco and Fernandez off guard. Nolasco was informed 2 1/2 hours before Game 1 as he was walking into Target Field. Nolasco headed back to the hotel to get more rest.

Fernandez, meanwhile, arrived at the ballpark at 10:45 a.m. CT, rushing to the field after receiving the call.

The Marlins lost the first game, 4-3, with Fernandez taking the loss, but Nolasco earned the win, 8-5, in the nightcap.

"I was told at 10:30," Nolasco said Tuesday night. "I'm not going to talk about that situation. I know what I've got to do. I've still got to go out there and pitch. Happy or not, whatever the situation is, I have to go out there and do my job."

Wintry weather conditions prompted the switch. Initially, Nolasco was scheduled to pitch on Monday, but that game was postponed. It snowed on Monday night, and a day-night doubleheader was scheduled for Tuesday.

Even in the morning, team officials weren't confident both games would be played. There was even talk, if necessary, of playing on Wednesday, a scheduled off-day for both clubs.

"We really didn't think we'd get two games in," general manager Michael Hill said on Tuesday.

"We weren't really sure what the weather was going to be like," Redmond said on Tuesday. "There was the possibility of just playing one game today, and not knowing if it was going to snow again, or what. When we saw the sunshine, it made sense to put Fernandez up to pitch Game 1. Ricky's a little more accustomed to throwing in the cooler weather."

The temperature ended up being warmer at the time of the first pitch for the second game, 42 degrees compared to 38. But as the day progressed, the day game was warmer. Temperatures dropped into the low 30s during the night game.

"It wasn't fun," Nolasco said after the game. "Just grinded it out. I felt like I did just well enough to win."

Marlins' offense searching for consistency

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MIAMI -- After matching a season high for runs scored and setting a team high for hits on Tuesday night at Minnesota, Marlins manager Mike Redmond was hopeful his club's offense was waking up.

After all, the Marlins beat the Twins, 8-5, in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Tuesday at Target Field, collecting 16 hits in the process.

Off on Wednesday, the Marlins responded quickly on Thursday, scoring three runs in the first two innings against the Cubs at Marlins Park. But a two-run lead slipped away, and Miami lost, 4-3.

A lack of consistent run production remains an issue for the slumping Marlins.

They've scored 57 runs total in their first 22 games. It's the fewest runs by a Marlins team in the month of April.

Actually, Miami has struggled to score in April for the past two years. Previously, the franchise low for runs in the month is 73, established last year.

"We're looking for guys to step up and get big hits," Redmond said. "That's really what we need, all around, confidence-wise, and for everybody."