Manager Mike Redmond made the decision to bench starting second baseman Derek Dietrich for the second time in four games on Monday night, and it is reportedly not to give Dietrich a break. After appearing to have become consistent defensively, recent struggles have led to Redmond benching Dietrich in order to allow him to "find his defensive footing."
Dietrich made his eighth error on May 26 when the Marlins faced the Nationals in Washington D.C., and almost had another on a throw that first baseman Garrett Jones dug out of the dirt on Sunday afternoon. In Sunday's loss, Dietrich also notably failed to execute a double play that would have kept it a 2-1 game.
"I think a lot of it is mental right now," infield coach Perry Hill said. "We go out in the afternoons and most everything is perfect. A lot of times maybe you just get caught up in the game and have to clear your mind. When you go out at 3 o'clock and you're perfect, it has to be mental."
Dietrich has posted a .246/.342/.431 slash line in 41 games. He has been efficient in the number two spot behind Christian Yelich, and has provided occasional power.
Dietrich's recent defensive struggles are concerning because of the way he started the season. After taking a ground ball to the face at the end of Spring Training, it took Dietrich a bit more time to adjust defensively. Redmond, much like he is currently doing, took Dietrich out of the lineup for a few days, and the woes appeared to become insignificant.
Ed Lucas has been productive when he gets a spot start, but the left-handed bat of Dietrich is more valuable. If he wants to be a major league starter, he needs to regain his confidence and have a short memory.
Redmond wouldn't comment on when Dietrich would be reinserted into the lineup, and rightfully so. Dietrich's inconsistent defense has hurt the Marlins' chances in close games of late, and he is a liability at second base.
"It'll be day to day probably," Redmond said. "We'll see…I've given him a couple of days off earlier. It's like anything, like offense. Sometimes you just need a couple of days to clear you head and relax and a lot of time that works. It worked before. I've given him a couple of days off and let him relax, and he seemed to play much better after that."
If Dietrich continues to struggle when he takes the field, Rafael Furcal's return to the big leagues will be highly anticipated. Furcal recently began his rehab assignment with Single-A Jupiter.
Dietrich is a young player, but the Marlins have made it clear that they want to win now. And playing consistent defense is part of that.