JUPITER, Fla. -- With a bounce back in his step, right-hander Henderson Alvarez is expected to throw off the mound on Monday, and he could be joining the rotation by the end of next week.
Alvarez has been dealing with an infection in his right shin that is causing him to miss his start on Sunday against the Nationals in Viera, Fla.
Earlier in the week, he was hobbling around on crutches, but on Friday he was moving better and played catch.
There is an outside chance that Alvarez, Miami's projected No. 3 starter, could throw a bullpen session on Sunday, but manager Mike Redmond sounded as though he and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez were leaning more toward Monday.
"We'll start to ramp him up as far as playing catch and long-tossing, and getting him back up and running," Redmond said. "If everything goes well, Chuck and I were talking about plugging him in there late next week. That's kind of the plan."
Alvarez is a major part of the Marlins' rotation after going 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA in 17 starts last season.
And he saved his best for last, throwing a no-hitter against the Tigers in the season's final game.
Keeping the group healthy is the foremost priority in camp.
The way Alvarez is feeling now has the team comfortable that he could in the rotation next Friday against St. Louis. The next couple of days will be telling.
"We'll see how it goes," Redmond said. "He's moving around pretty good. I'm anticipating him being out there next week sometime."