Marcell Ozuna wasn't hit in the face with a Stephen Strasburg fastball. But he may be the next Marlin whose season prematurely comes to an end after injuring his right ankle in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Nationals.
Ozuna, who has posted 23 home runs and 85 RBIs, has a high ankle sprain, but MLB.com reported X-Rays came back negative.
On crutches and wearing a walking boot, Ozuna said he sprained a ligament and will need a couple of weeks to recover. If possible, he would like to get a chance to pinch-hit at some point in the final seven games, but that may be doubtful.
"We don't really have a timetable for him," Redmond said. "We'll see how he progresses over the next couple of days."
After losing Giancarlo Stanton for the remainder of the season, Miami's outfield is quickly without two starters. Reed Johnson has seen the most playing time in right field, and Kike Hernandez could take Ozuna's place in center for the final week of play if necessary.
Ozuna's bat, notably his patience at the plate, has improved, and the Marlins are confident he can be a consistent center field option moving forward.
Manager Mike Redmond noted how tough it is to lose both Stanton and Ozuna, however Ozuna's injury came a night after the Marlins were mathematically eliminated from the postseason. Both are looking to be healthy heading into the offseason, so losing the pair for the last few games may hurt the offense but will likely benefit both as they prepare for the winter.
"This is not good for us," Redmond said. "We can't really afford to lose anybody else out of that lineup. We're piecing it together and grinding it out already. I don't really know what to say. That's tough. That's another blow for us."
With Stanton out of the lineup, Ozuna was batting in the cleanup spot with Casey McGehee batting third. After he doubled against Strasburg in the seventh inning, Ozuna slowed down as he reached second, leading to his right foot getting stuck.
Rather than slide, Ozuna slowed as he was reaching the base, and the ball was coming in to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera.
"I was thinking the throw was going to the right side, and I was thinking, 'I got it,' " Ozuna said. "Let me run to second base to the left."
Ozuna wanted to end his first complete major league season on a positive note, but the Marlins will need his bat in 2015. Remaining healthy will be a key for the Marlins in the final games of 2014.
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