NEW YORK -- A power arm could be back for the Marlins, perhaps as early as Wednesday at Philadelphia.
Nathan Eovaldi, dealing with a tight back, played catch without any discomfort on Saturday afternoon. The plan is to get him on the mound to throw a bullpen session on Sunday at Citi Field.
Barring any setbacks, Eovaldi may be ready to return to game action in the series finale against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
"Eovaldi came in much better," manager Mike Redmond said. "He is getting better each day."
The hard-throwing Eovaldi was lined up to pitch at home against the Braves on Thursday, but he tweaked his back the day before, and Brian Flynn made the start in his place.
With a better indication of what to do with Eovaldi, the Marlins have set their rotation for the first two games of their upcoming series at Philadelphia.
Sam Dyson, who has made three relief appearances since being promoted from Triple-A New Orleans, will make his first career MLB start on Monday against the Phillies.
Flynn will take the mound on Tuesday.
Tentatively, Eovaldi could be ready by Wednesday. If not, the team will again adjust.
Brad Hand, who suffered a tough, 4-3, loss on Friday night to the Mets, is expected to get a start sometime next week.
Hand worked 5 2/3 innings and threw well, but he was victimized by a two-out, three-run homer by Lucas Duda in the sixth inning.
"I thought [Hand] did a great job," Redmond said. "One pitch, and [Duda] hit a home run off him. But I like the stuff."
The Marlins don't plan on going with six starters, but they are keeping their options open.
"We're still kind of waiting on Eovaldi to make sure everything is all right with him," Redmond said. "We'll adjust accordingly to how he feels."
Giancarlo trying to end tough year with a bang
NEW YORK -- One month won't salvage a season, but it would go a long way toward giving Giancarlo Stanton at least a sliver of satisfaction.
With the schedule winding down, Stanton is picking things up.
In Friday's 4-3 loss to the Mets, the 23-year-old Marlins slugger belted two solo home runs off Jonathon Niese.
It was Stanton's ninth career multihomer game, and third this season.
"It's getting there," the 2012 All-Star said. "We've got a few weeks left, so keep it up."
Stanton came into Saturday having hit four homers in his past six games.
Overall, his numbers are nowhere close to his expectations or standards. He's batting .256 with 22 homers, 52 RBIs and a .370 on-base percentage.
Due to injuries, he entered Saturday having appeared in 100 games.
In 2012, Stanton was second in the National League in home runs with 37, and he batted .290 with a .361 on-base percentage. His .608 slugging percentage was tops in the Majors.
There has been plenty of speculation about Stanton's future with the Marlins. He will enter arbitration next year for the first time.
But the Marlins plan to keep Stanton, and they will look to build around him.
Regardless of the team's record, Stanton is seeking to re-establish himself as one of the premier sluggers in the game.
So when asked how important these final games are, he replies: "Very."
He also has perspective.
"I'll never get back how terrible I've been," he said.
• Catcher Jeff Mathis, who has been out since Monday with a bruised right thumb, did some throwing on Saturday afternoon, and he took some swings. The veteran is still sore, but he could be back as early as Monday in Philadelphia.
"If everything goes well tomorrow, he could be [back] any day," Redmond said. "Probably the Phillies series [next week]."
• Adeiny Hechavarria has been a workhorse, playing pretty much every game. But with Miami playing 22 games in a 21-day span, the 24-year-old shortstop could get a day off. Ed Lucas is the likely option to give Hechavarria a breather.