There is a famous saying: “Time heals all wounds.”
That’s baloney, especially when it comes to sports injuries. Even for young people in the prime of their careers, time and extensive rehab heal most wounds. No guarantees.
Marlins players are spending the offseason juggling a lot of personal and professional responsibilities. On top of that, several find themselves behind the eight ball after finishing 2018 on the disabled list. They must get back to 100 percent strength before looking too far ahead.
With another three months to go before Marlins begin arriving in Jupiter for spring training, let’s review what we know about the recoveries of notable players across all levels of the organization.
Right-hander Pablo López was one of the Marlins’ breakthrough players. Unfortunately, arm issues bookended his season. López was shut down after an Aug. 26 start with 121 total innings pitched (Double-A/Triple-A/MLB combined) because of an achy shoulder.
The Marlins discovered no structural damage. President of baseball operations Michael Hill has high hopes for López heading into his age-23 campaign, as he explained Tuesday on the Marlins Hot Stove Show:
“He’s healthy now. When you have those young players, you’re overly cautious. He probably could’ve come back and pitched at the end of the year, but we wanted to make sure he was completely healthy and give him a full offseason, preparing his mind and body and arm to give us a full, competitive season at the major league level next year.”
Young Pablo’s path to the major league rotation was expedited by an injury to fellow standout rookie Caleb Smith. He elected to surgically repair a Grade 3 left lat strain on Jul. 9. KKKKKKaleb had been comfortably leading the Marlins in strikeouts at the time.
Recoveries from such procedures—anything in the shoulder region—are notoriously unpredictable, but the Huntsville, Texas native will reach an important milestone on Monday. Smith expects to be cleared to begin a throwing program.
Garrett Cooper (wrist) and Martín Prado (abdominal strain) likewise spent September as spectators on the 60-day DL. We don’t have a firm update on either of them, though the Marlins’ rumored interest in free-agent first basemen suggests that they’ll need to fight for playing time in any scenario.
Two-and-a-half years since the Marlins made him an early-round draft selection, Braxton Garrett only has four official pro appearances. Not ideal!
Thankfully, he returned to action post-Tommy John surgery during Marlins instructional league last fall. Even with so much time spent on the sidelines, MLB Pipeline slots him as the No. 10 prospect in the farm system. Garrett is poised to continue developing as a potential top-of-the-rotation arm in 2019.
Slightly outside the Pipeline Top 30, right-hander Matt Givin underwent his Tommy John in April (as first reported by Fish Stripes). We bring you another exclusive update based on Givin’s progress in late October:
- Throwing from 75 feet with no issues
- Bulked up from a listed 180 pounds to approximately 205 pounds
- On schedule to pitch competitively again next July
Miami’s 16th-round pick in the most recent draft, right-hander Sam Bordner got his UCL reconstructed on Jun. 12. The University of Louisville product resumes pitching in early December.
Only a month out until I get start tossing the pebble again!!! ⚾️— Sam Bordner⚾ (@BigSammyB_13) November 5, 2018
Catcher Jarett Rindfleisch—last seen slashing .290/.540/.323 with High-A Jupiter—underwent season-ending surgery for a lower-body injury in May. He wasn’t ready to participate in baseball activities as of this Oct. 21 Marlin Maniac interview. On the bright side, Rindfleisch indicated that he was close to being “full go” and confident in there being no lingering effects heading into next year.