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09/19/09 6:56 PM EST

Volstad nearing return to Marlins

Righty expected to be available for Tuesday's doubleheader

CINCINNATI -- Right-hander Chris Volstad threw a 50-pitch simulated game before the Marlins' game vs. the Reds on Saturday, and afterward manager Fredi Gonzalez declared the newly minted reliever ready to return to the mound.

"It went well," Gonzalez said. "He'll go back into the bullpen. We won't use him [Sunday], and then Monday is an off-day. On Tuesday, we can use him."

Volstad began the season as a starter, going 9-11 with a 5.03 ERA in 27 appearances. But the Marlins optioned Volstad -- who will turn 24 on Wednesday -- to Triple-A New Orleans. After a couple bullpen sessions and one appearance with the Zephyrs as he tried to find life on his sinker, he was recalled Sept. 8. He pitched poorly against the Nationals last week, however, and he's not slated to start any time soon.

Saturday's simulated game apparently convinced Gonzalez that Volstad's mechanics are back in tune. The Marlins, though, won't need him until Tuesday's doubleheader against the Phillies.

"That's why we did it today," Gonzalez said. "We felt like we could get through these next two games without him having to pitch."

Josh Katzowitz is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.