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Jesús Luzardo won’t join Marlins rotation immediately

On Thursday, the Marlins optioned their newly acquired left-hander to Triple-A Jacksonville.

Jesus Luzardo #44 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the top of the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

We’ll need to wait a little bit longer to see Jesús Luzardo play for the team he grew up rooting for. The Marlins optioned their new 23-year-old left-hander to Triple-A Jacksonville.

This is Luzardo’s first option year so he’ll still have two more remaining for 2022 and beyond.

Luzardo already has major league experience in parts of three seasons and opened the 2021 campaign in the Oakland Athletics starting rotation. However, he struggled through his first six outings—5.79 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 23.6 K% in 28.0 IP—then suffered a fracture in his pitching hand. The former top prospect rejoined the A’s as a reliever in late May, but was bombarded by home runs in that role.

He was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas on June 21.

Immediately, the Athletics began to re-stretch him out as a starter. Luzardo made adjustments to induce more grounders, allowing only three homers in 27 13 innings. But the bottomline results weren’t much better due to his reluctance to attack the zone (57% strikes thrown) and perhaps some simple bad luck (.354 BABIP).

The Marlins enter Friday in a non-contending position at 44-58 and with a pair of glaring holes in their rotation. Although there’s optimism that NL Rookie of the Year frontrunner Trevor Rogers (back spasms) will return from the injured list during this homestand, there are no other bonafide MLB starters on the roster besides Sandy Alcantara and Zach Thompson. Rule 5 draft pick Paul Campbell is eligible to return from his PED suspension next week, but he didn’t show much promise in his limited opportunity as a starter earlier this season.

Why not have Luzardo work through his issues in Miami alongside pitcher whisperer Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and the major league staff? There should be further details about this decision coming soon.