Henderson Alvarez makes his season debut for the Miami Marlins in Thursday's rubber match with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
The 23-year-old Alvarez was acquired in November's 12-player blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, but has missed the season's first three months with inflammation in his right (throwing) shoulder.
While he limited opposing hitters to a .169 average (14-for-83) during his rehab assignment, manager Mike Redmond said the plan is to limit Alvarez to 85 pitches.
"I think there is a little bit of an unknown in how he is going to pitch for us, because we didn't see him pitch much before he got hurt," Redmond said. "We'll see how he does and how his pitches are and how much he has to grind."
Alvarez will oppose Braves rookie phenom Julio Teheran, who ranks second in the majors with 10 quality starts. The right-hander has also shown a penchant for striking batters out, as he has fanned eight or more batters in four of his last six starts.
Most recently, Teheran tossed six shutout innings against Arizona on Friday, as he allowed only four hits while striking out 10 and issuing only one walk to run his record to 6-4, while lowering his ERA to 3.12.
"He's got swing-and-miss stuff, which is a good thing to have," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We knew that, we saw the arm. And the thing that I've kind of been pleasantly surprised with him is he pitches at 92-93 (mph), but there's been some times where all of a sudden, that radar goes up to 95 certain times over the course of the game. So he has that in his arsenal."
Miami halted the Braves' four-game winning streak with Wednesday's 6-3 victory. Despite steady rains and even more persistent trade rumors of late, Ricky Nolasco battled to yield only two runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked nobody.
"It is what it is," Nolasco said of the speculation. "It's been going on for a while. I'm not believing anything. I'm not trying to read anything until something actually happens, or if it happens, whatever it is.
"I'm just trying to block it out as much as I can. I'm going out there, just trying to go out there every day, and eat up as many innings as possible and help us win. Whatever happens happens is my mind set on it, and I think it's been helping me out really well."
Justin Ruggiano gave Miami the lead in the fifth inning when he delivered a three-run home run.
The victory stopped Atlanta's eight-game winning streak in the head-to-head series.