The Miami Marlins have not only been terrible so far in 2013, but they have also been mauled by injuries. Between losing key rotation members before the season began and losing replacement options at various positions, it has a firestorm of malaise in the Marlins clubhouse. And the injuries have not been limited to the disabled list, as the Fish were without Justin Ruggiano and Giancarlo Stanton for a couple of games as well without a DL stint.
Well, some good news appears to be on the way, as shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has begun taking grounders during batting practice and could return to the Marlins by May 2, his first day of eligibility following a DL stint for elbow pain.
"Hech, he's going to take some ground balls and make some throws," manager Mike Redmond said. "The plan is for him to play some games [in Jupiter]."
That is a good sign for a team that has been lacking its expected starters at various positions this season. The Marlins are particularly interested in testing Hechavarria's capabilities, as he is the only true playable shortstop in the organization's depth chart. The Marlins are widely expected to move Derek Dietrich to another position after he spent most of his minor league career at shortstop. Sure enough, he is currently playing second base in Double-A Jacksonville.
Hechavarria should get a game or two of rehab before returning to the lineup, and at least one other player is at least on track to return in May. Starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who was shelved a day before the season began with shoulder inflammation, has thrown 45-pitch bullpen sessions and could begin throwing rehab games in early May. For Alvarez, the Marlins are targeting a mid-May return.
The Fish can leave their decision on the three fifth starters currently in their rotation for a little while longer, because the other pitcher who went down to shoulder problems, Nathan Eovaldi, is on the 60-day DL and is not eligible to return until at least early June.
Other players currently on the DL include Casey Kotchman, backup catcher Jeff Mathis, and expected starting first baseman Logan Morrison. Mathis and Morrison are expected to start rehab stints within the first week or two of May. Based on that timetable, you can expect them to be ready by late May or early June.
The Marlins have been running mostly on fumes and replacement-level players thus far, but at least a few of their intended pieces should return shortly. Having players like Hechavarria and Alvarez back is also important for evaluating this club's future, so it is a good sign that those two players are on the path back to the majors.