Miami has had difficulty scoring runs and pitching consistently to open the 2015 campaign. And after closing a 1-5 home stand to begin the season, the Marlins will now have to rely on some of their minor league depth for what could be the rest of the month of April.
According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, both Don Kelly and Jeff Mathis have been placed on the disabled list after being injured during Sunday's 8-5 loss to the Rays. Kelly got the start at third base, and while he was fielding a ground ball, the ball bounced off the tip of his finger. Mathis' finger was fractured on a Tim Beckham foul tip.
The Marlins opted to give both Martin Prado and Jarrod Saltalamacchia a day off on Sunday afternoon, and as a result Manager Mike Redmond got Kelly and Mathis playing time. Frisaro notes Kelly will be evaluated by a hand specialist, with Mathis expected to be out between four and six weeks.
Kelly gave the Marlins a left-handed bat on the bench to complement that of Ichiro Suzuki. He is also a veteran presence and was the Marlins' third emergency catcher. Miami has several options to replace Kelly, however a move to create a spot on the 40-man roster may have to be made. Jordany Valdespin could be promoted, but Reid Brignac may be the favorite to join the club in Atlanta. Brignac decided to remain with the organization after not making the club out of spring training. He, too, is a left-handed hitter and could be a valuable addition to the Marlins' bench.
While Brignac is likely going to be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans, the Marlins have a pair of backstops that can serve as a backup in Mathis' absence. Catching prospect J.T. Realmuto could be promoted, however if Mathis is expected to return within a few weeks, Jhonatan Solano may receive the call-up. Realmuto could emerge as Miami's starting catcher moving forward, and promoting him to serve as a backup on the bench may contradict the organization's goal of helping him continue to develop in 2015.
Kelly and Mathis are not the only Marlins who are being monitored. Henderson Alvarez's velocity decreased on Sunday afternoon, and The Miami Herald reported he will have an MRI on his right elbow. Ultimately, the Marlins have the depth necessary to cope with each injury. But just six games into the season, the Marlins' depth is being put to use.