Two nights ago, the Miami Marlins mysteriously pulled shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the lineup with an undisclosed elbow injury, and yesterday it appeared Hechavarria would not make the road trip. Last night, the news got significantly worse, as Hechavarria was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what manager Mike Redmond is calling a "bruised elbow."
"It's not a ligament thing, which is great," Redmond said. "It'll just be a matter of taking a break and getting some rest. Hopefully it's a short-term thing."
Hechavarria is just the latest in a series of Marlins players who have gone down to injury. The Fish started the season without Logan Morrison, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez thanks to various preseason injuries. Morrison, who was initially questionable for Opening Day, was moved to the 60-day DL prior to the season's start and is not eligible to return until the start of June. Eovaldi and Alvarez were both shelved for "shoulder inflammation," and now Eovaldi has been shifted to the 60-day DL to make 40-man roster space for utility infielder Nick Green, who was called up to replace Hechavarria. Eovaldi cannot be activated until the middle of June.
The Fish also lost a number of players during the season, including Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Ruggiano, and Austin Kearns for short stretches. Starting first baseman Casey Kotchman, who was tabbed to replace Morrison, also landed on the DL with an ankle injury.
As we discussed yesterday, these injuries are not stopping the Marlins from winning games per se. Rather, their difficulty comes in limiting the time the Marlins have to evaluate their roster. Each of Morrison, Eovaldi, Alvarez, Ruggiano, and now Hechavarria had important things to prove and display in 2013, and each of those players have missed enough time to interfere with that process. Ruggiano has had the additional hurdle of being stuck in a confusing platoon with the struggling Chris Coghlan. The remaining players each could have used the playing time in April and May to establish themselves, but instead many of them are spending it away with injury.
Chris Valaika figures to get the majority of plate appearances at shortstop in place of Hechavarria. Hechavarria was hitting just .184/.231/.286 (.230 wOBA) before the injury, while Valaika has hit .250/.286/.400 (.298 wOBA) thus far in 2013.