MIAMI -- A constant when Jose Fernandez is on the mound has been veteran catcher Jeff Mathis.
Mathis has pretty much been the rookie's batterymate since May. But due to a swollen right thumb, Mathis was unable to go on Wednesday in Fernandez's final start of the season.
"He tried," manager Mike Redmond said. "He came in my office and he told me, 'Red, I can't do it. I just can't do it.' His thumb is all swollen, it's black and blue. I know he tried. Jose wanted him, too.
"I know Jeff really wanted that. I knew that was important for him to be back for Jose's last start. It's too bad."
The last time Mathis didn't catch Fernandez was on June 25. Rob Brantly caught that night against Minnesota. Koyie Hill was behind the plate Wednesday night.
"Koyie is a veteran guy too," Redmond said. "He will be fine."
Mathis injured his thumb in the fourth inning of Monday night's 5-2 loss to the Braves while trying to block a wild pitch in the dirt.
An X-ray that night came back negative. When the swelling subsides, a second X-ray will be taken to make sure there isn't a fracture.
"There will probably be another X-ray to rule out a fracture," Redmond said. "I think sometimes after the initial trauma to the finger, you let the swelling get out of there and re-evaluate. Hopefully everything is fine."
Tight back could push Eovaldi's start back
MIAMI -- Keeping the rotation in order is suddenly becoming an issue for the Marlins.
Nathan Eovaldi, scheduled to start Thursday's series finale with the Braves, is dealing with a tight back. If he isn't good to go, lefty Brian Flynn will get the nod.
Eovaldi, who is coming off a rough start in which he gave up five runs on nine hits in three innings against the Nationals, informed manager Mike Redmond that his back had tightened.
"His start is going to be in jeopardy tomorrow," Redmond said before Wednesday night's game. "It looks like he will probably be unable to go, and Flynn, we will move him up."
A September callup, Flynn has made one start, on Sept. 4 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The lefty gave up three runs on six hits in a no-decision that day.
Flynn is currently scheduled to start on Friday in the series opener against the Mets at Citi Field. But if he goes on Thursday, Brad Hand could get the nod on Friday in New York.
Hand has been slotted to pitch the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at Citi Field.
The hope is Eovaldi will be fine, and miss -- at the most -- a couple of days.
Sam Dyson is an alternative to start wherever he is needed.
Jose Fernandez will be shut down after Wednesday night's start, so he will no longer be part of the rotation. The Marlins have no intention of giving Fernandez more starts should Eovaldi be out an extended period.