With Chritain Yelich joining the team on Sunday, the Marlins had to send someone down to the minors to open up a roster spot. They ultimately decided to outright bench-infielder Reid Brignac to Triple-A New Orleans. Brignac has the option to reject the demotion and become a free-agent or he can report to New Orleans.
Brignac was just 2 for 13 at the plate on the season, and only 1 for 9 with three walks and five strikeouts as a pinch hitter. After not making the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, Brignac started the season in New Orleans. He was called up in mid-April after Don Kelly was placed on the disabled list.
Other than not producing at the plate, the main reason that Brignac was optioned was because of the strong play of Justin Bour. Bour was called-up after Yelich's trip to the disabled list opened up a roster spot. Since being called up Bour has made the most of his opportunity as he has is 10 for 20 at the plate along with a home run and three RBIs. In addition, Bour is five for eight with a walk as a pinch-hitter. Bour's five pinch-hits are the most for any player in the National League.
Bour, age 26, is a former 25th round pick by the Chicago Cubs. Towards the end of last season the Marlins called Bour up to the big leagues for the first time in his career and he posted a batting line of .284/.361/.365 in 74 at-bats. Before his call-up to the majors, he was hitting .275/.403/.353 through 14 games in Triple-A New Orleans.
With Michael Morse struggling to begin the season, Bour has made a few starts at first base as well. The Marlins signed Michael Morse to a two-year deal worth $16 million this past offseason, so Bour is not expected to seriously challenge Morse for playing time at first base. Regardless, the Marlins are happy with Bour's play and believe they might have found 'hidden gem', via Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
"You can't always shop at Nordstrom's," said Marlins general manager Dan Jennings of reaching into the Cubs' system to unearth Bour. "Sometimes you have to shop at Nordstrom's Rack."Jennings credited Marlins evaluators Dan Noffsinger and Andy Barkett for making a push for Bour after watching him play in the minors.Now it's looking like they discovered a hidden gem.
With Ichiro already playing well this season, the addition of Bour strengthens the Marlins bench even more with a left-handed power bat.