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Cosart directed not to swing throughout start

After hurting back during at-bat in first NL outing, Marlins take no chances with pitcher

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MIAMI -- No signs from third-base coach Brett Butler were needed when Jarred Cosart stepped into the batter's box on Tuesday night.

The Marlins right-hander was under orders to not swing the bat. Bunting would be fine, but that was it.

Cosart did as ordered. He took five pitches and struck out looking in the second inning, and watched three pitches for his second strikeout in the fourth.

All the Marlins cared about was Cosart's pitching, and the 24-year-old did that quite effectively. He threw seven shutout innings in the Marlins' 3-0 win over the Cardinals.

Why the take sign? Because Cosart hadn't pitched in 11 days due to a tight lower back. The ailment occurred on Aug. 1, the day after he was acquired from the Astros.

Coming over from the American League, Cosart didn't do much hitting. But in his first start for Miami, he legged out an infield single, which was his first big league hit. However, the swing, coupled with the sprint, created some discomfort in his lower back.

Facing Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night, manager Mike Redmond gave a directive.

"I didn't want him taking any swings that were going to hurt him," Redmond said. "Had we had him in a situation where we needed to score a run, we probably would have had to hit for him, knowing he hadn't taken any swings. Fortunately, we didn't get in that situation."

The Cardinals were aware of Cosart's condition, and it factored into strategy in Miami's three-run fourth inning. Wainwright had two outs and had already given up a run. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was on base, with eighth hitter Donovan Solano at the plate.

Knowing Cosart was on deck, Wainwright pitched to Solano, who connected on a two-run homer.

"I know the pitcher was on deck, and that he was probably not swinging," Wainwright said. "I'm just never thinking someone's going to hit a home run off me. I don't give up many home runs. And he made a good swing."

Solano actually received a bit of good fortune, because the ball down the line managed to stay fair.

"That ball was 10 feet foul and it came back fair," Wainwright said. "It was just the craziest ball flight I've ever seen. I think I'd gotten so caught up with trying to stuff that one in there that I didn't juice it like I wanted to."

The plan is to eventually get Cosart swinging the bat, but Tuesday wasn't the time.

"The first at-bat, he threw me some right down the middle," Cosart said. "But again, get through this game healthy and we'll work on swinging easy and getting in shape. I don't want to embarrass myself again and go up there and swing hard and hurt myself."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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