MIAMI -- Juan Carlos Oviedo's return to the big leagues may be delayed.
The 30-year-old exited Saturday's rehab game in the seventh inning due to right elbow discomfort. Oviedo is returning to Miami for further examination by team physicians.
The setback could mean he isn't ready to join the Marlins on July 23, the day his MLB-issued suspension ends.
Formerly Leo Nunez, Oviedo was suspended eight weeks for playing under a false identity.
Terms of his punishment allowed him to begin pitching in Minor League games on July 7. But he threw in a game for the first time two days later because of a stiff neck.
Oviedo pitched in two games for Class A Advanced Jupiter before being brought up to Triple-A New Orleans, where the hope was to get him facing more experienced hitters.
On Saturday night, the Zephyrs were at Oklahoma City. Oviedo faced three batters in the seventh inning, getting one out while allowing a hit and a walk before he was taken out with elbow tightness.
The Marlins are hoping to get the right-hander back in the next couple of weeks, because he would add depth to the back of the bullpen.
Closing situation has Ozzie fixed on moment
MIAMI -- Closing by committee is causing Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen to stay focused in the moment.
His immediate concern is the game being played, and not worrying about what may happen tomorrow.
"I don't worry about tomorrow," Guillen said. "Maybe tomorrow, we'll be down 30 runs in the eighth. Maybe we'll be up by 30 runs in the eighth. I don't try to think about the next day when we're not there."
It's that philosophy that will make figuring out the ninth inning a challenge for the Marlins.
Ideally, the club would like for Heath Bell to be the closer. But after a rough first half, the veteran right-hander is being asked to earn the position again.
On Saturday night, in a 2-1 win over the Nationals, Steve Cishek went 1 2/3 innings for the save. It was the team's first five-or-more-outs save since Burke Badenhop got six outs on April 14, 2010, in a 5-3 win over the Reds at Sun Life Stadium.
Cishek got two outs on 12 pitches in the eighth inning, and he went back out for the ninth, throwing 28 total pitches.
"Their best hitter comes [up] in the eighth, it has to be Cishek," Guillen said. "If not, my best option is Bell out of the bullpen."
Cishek accepted the extra workload.
"When I came into the dugout after the first two-thirds of an inning, [Guillen] told me I was going back out," the 26-year-old right-hander said. "It got me fired up. I went through the process of getting mentally prepared to go out and throw another inning."
The question now is when Cishek will be available next. The 28 pitches were his most since throwing 36 on June 23 against the Blue Jays. He also woke up on Sunday morning sick, vomiting before he got to the ballpark. Because Cishek wasn't feeling well, he was sent home before Sunday's game.
Cishek noted that the uncertainty of when he will enter games is nothing new.
"I approach it like I approached my job before," he said. "I was the seventh-, eighth-inning guy to start the year. I never knew when I was going in from the seventh inning on. I do the same routine I've always done since the beginning of the year. I'm always mentally ready to go in from the seventh inning on, so I don't make it hard on myself."
Club must work to pick up slack for Stanton
MIAMI -- Acquiring Carlos Lee on July 4 was a step in trying to bolster the Marlins' lineup.
The addition of an established middle-of-the-order bat is just one step to increase run production in the second half.
It will take a group effort to replace the power of Giancarlo Stanton, who is out four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right knee.
The Marlins had hoped to match Lee and Stanton together in the middle of their order. But that didn't materialize, as Stanton had his surgery on July 8, four days after Lee was obtained from the Astros for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.
On Saturday night, in Miami's 2-1 win over the Nationals, Lee collected his first RBI since the trade. His single in the fourth inning scored Jose Reyes, giving the Marlins an early lead.
"We have to keep playing," Lee said. "It's a team effort. I know Stanton is a big part of the team, a big part of the middle of the lineup. But we still have to go out there and everybody has to do the little parts -- play the game right and win games."
In assessing their roster heading into July, Marlins management determined the offense was lacking, so they targeted an established hitter.
Heading into the season, the Marlins felt they would have plenty of firepower. But it didn't materialize.
"The No. 1 thing that we felt the most confidence in coming into the season was that, 'Hey, we're going to score runs,'" Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "This is Hanley Ramirez. This is Jose Reyes. This is Giancarlo Stanton. This is Logan Morrison. This is Gaby Sanchez. This team is going to score runs."
When the lineup didn't deliver, the front office felt it was a time to make a change, so Lee was acquired.
"So we had to make the move for Carlos, kind of a proven run producer," Beinfest said. "He's kind of a big guy who can stand in the middle of that lineup and maybe change it."