LOS ANGELES -- It's no longer a matter of if Andrew Heaney is ready to make the big league jump, it's closing in on when.
Ranked by MLB.com as the top left-handed pitching prospect in the game, Heaney continues his development at Double-A Jacksonville, where he is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He has 44 strikeouts in 46 innings.
When Jose Fernandez was lost to a ligament tear in his right elbow, the Marlins opted to call up right-hander Anthony DeSclafani from Jacksonville. Heaney was considered, but the fact that he threw seven innings a few days ago eliminated the chance of him pitching on Wednesday at Los Angeles.
The Marlins also signed veteran Randy Wolf, which eases the urgency to rush Heaney.
Still, the young lefty, who turns 23 on June 5, is inching closer to making his Major League debut.
"He was definitely in consideration, as was Brian Flynn [from Triple-A New Orleans]," said Michael Hill, president of baseball operations. "We looked at all of our upper-level pitching. When we got the news [about Fernandez], we really couldn't reshift rotations to make someone available."
Another candidate at New Orleans who could be viable in a month or so is lefty Adam Conley, but he is returning after a bout of inflammation in his left forearm and only resumed his throwing program on Tuesday.
"It was more muscle," Hill said. "It was not ligament involvement. When he is stretched out, he will be back in the rotation."
As for Heaney, he continues to impress and improve his overall game, meaning holding runners and fielding his position.
"He's making steady progress," Hill said. "It's really just a matter of giving him innings before he is ready to go. Similar to DeSclafani. I think they're both Major League starting pitchers. It's just a matter of when they become Major League starting pitchers."
Fernandez coming to grips with prognosis
LOS ANGELES -- Jose Fernandez, along with his family, is weighing how to move forward in regard to his pending surgery.
As of Wednesday night, the Marlins' ace had yet to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a substantial tear to the right ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
"I think it's inevitable," Michael Hill, president of baseball operations, said. "He has to have surgery. It's just a matter of when he comes to grips ... and makes that decision."
On Tuesday night the team announced the severity of Fernandez's injury. Surgery was recommended, and the 21-year-old is expected to miss 12 to 18 months.
The injury to the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year has become one of the major story lines in the Majors.
Though only in his second season, Fernandez has already captured the imagination of many. He was off to a strong start, having been named NL Pitcher of the Month for April.
"Like all of us, we're fans of the game," Hill said. "So we appreciate and respect the game, and have a passion. When you see somebody who embodies that passion, you want to root for him. Jose enjoys what he's doing -- not just every fifth day, but every day he was at the ballpark, he had fun with his teammates. Now he's going to have to do it in a different capacity for the next 12 or so months."
Eovaldi reflects on his Tommy John experience
LOS ANGELES -- Going through Tommy John surgery is never an easy process, and it is one that Nathan Eovaldi experienced at an early age.
The hard-throwing right-hander underwent the procedure during his junior season at Alvin High School in Texas, which happens to be the same school attended by Nolan Ryan.
A year later, not only had Eovaldi recovered to the point of playing, he became the 11th-round Draft pick of the Dodgers.
"I recovered from it fast," Eovaldi said. "It was like, 6 1/2, seven months, and I was back on the mound."
The Marlins have been rocked by a serious elbow injury to their ace, Jose Fernandez. An MRI revealed a significant tear in his elbow, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended.
Fernandez, 21, is expected to be out 12 to 18 months.
Eovaldi, one of the hardest throwers in the game, recalls how his velocity developed both before and after his surgery.
As a freshman in high school, he was throwing around 76-80 mph. As a sophomore he grew and gained weight, and his fastball ramped up to 88-91. As a junior he was throwing 94-96 mph prior to his surgery.
Now he is throwing in the upper 90s, and has already reached 100.
Having the surgery was an easy decision for him.
"I had two partial tears where it connects on both sides," he said. "Maybe if I had one, I might have just done the rehab. But I had two. It was my junior year."
The surgery was performed by Dr. David Lintner, the team doctor of the major Houston sports franchises.
"Maybe if I could recover in time, I could go play college ball. That was my thought process," Eovaldi said. "I just wanted to get a scholarship for school. Fortunately, I recovered from it quickly enough to get drafted and take my chances up here."
• Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in an 0-for-22 rut with 12 strikeouts, was given a night off in the series finale in Los Angeles. Jeff Mathis made the start.
• The Marlins have yet to give Giancarlo Stanton a day off this season. That could come on Sunday in San Francisco, the last day of the 11-game road trip and stretch of 20 games in 20 days.