Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna could be out for year with thumb injury

USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with an injured thumb. Ozuna could be out for the year, though if he was able to return after a procedure, he may be reinstated and sent to Double-A.

It appeared Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna had lost his spot on the roster upon the promotion of prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick earlier this week. Though it appeared that Ozuna would be sent to Double-A Jacksonville, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a ligament tear and avulsion fracture in his left thumb, which will require surgery.

Ozuna injured the finger during Monday's 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Ozuna made a diving catch to rob Michael Cuddyer of a base hit in the sixth inning and his glove hand bent backward on the play.

Miami's front office is not optimistic about Ozuna returning for the remainder of the season, and President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest doesn't believe that he will be able to complete the final stretch of his first major league season.

"It's highly doubtful and improbable that you'll see him again this season," Beinfest said in an interview with MLB.com. "It's a minimum 6-8 weeks, and then you have to ramp up from there. So we're going to run out of time this season."

Following Monday night's victory over the Rockies, the Marlins optioned both Ozuna and second baseman Derek Dietrich. Dietrich struggled offensively with an average that consistently hovered around .200, however Ozuna's demotion wasn't expected. He hit well with runners in scoring position and recorded several outfield assists while Giancarlo Stanton was on the DL.

It's surprising, because when we optioned him Monday night and asked him if he was OK, he stayed [in the game] and he said he was OK," Beinfest said. "We had a doctor check him out here and it was starting to swell and get a little bit irritated."

Ozuna's operation was on Friday, and because the injury occurred in a major league game, he was placed on the major league disabled list.

Beinfest stressed the importance of ensuring that Ozuna is healthy for Spring Training. With Yelich and Marisnick playing left and center field, respectively, there is no reason to expedite the rehabilitation process.

"Like any young player, he's going to have to come out and make the team next year in Spring Training," Beinfest said.

"Obviously we have some pretty spirited outfield competition. He did a great job. Our intention was for him to go down and work on some things offensively. Sure enough, it's just the way it goes. He makes really a game-saving catch and gets hurt and ends up on the DL instead of being able to work on some things that he needed to work on and probably come back [to the Majors] later this season."

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