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Marlins injury updates: Caleb Smith confesses to hip issue; Julian Fernández shut down

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The Marlins ace requires some time off and each of their top two outfield prospects are being handled with care.

Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish Stripes

Throughout the 2019 season, Fish Stripes will pass along updates on injured Marlins players and top prospects as they attempt to get back on the field. Here is what we’ve learned in recent days...


MLB

  • LHP Caleb Smith (left hip inflammation) leads the Marlins rotation with a 3.41 earned run average and 82 strikeouts this season, but something was clearly off lately. He had gone five straight outings without providing a quality start, lacking his usual command, and Smith’s fastball velocity was noticeably down against both the Padres and Brewers. “It’s been bothering me the last couple starts,” the left-hander said Friday night. “Just haven’t really felt the same.” The club expects him to return to the rotation later this month.
  • C Chad Wallach was placed on the injured list with a concussion on May 24. He does not seem to be close to returning. In fact, trading to acquire Triple-A backstop Tyler Heineman on Tuesday suggests the opposite. Wallach had been exceeding most people’s expectations as the second-string catcher (.250/.333/.375 in 54 PA), and the gap between his .378 xwOBA and .314 wOBA indicates he’s actually been somewhat unlucky at the plate.
  • RHP Riley Ferrell (originally biceps tendinitis, now lat soreness) is scheduled to pitch an inning at extended spring on Saturday, according to Wells Dusenbury of the Sun Sentinel. Ferrell had made four total minor league rehab appearances with Jacksonville and New Orleans last month prior to the setback.
  • The update is more discouraging for RHP Julian Fernández (Tommy John surgery): shut down with elbow soreness. Since he has no timetable to resume throwing, there’s virtually no chance of Fernández getting enough time on the Marlins active roster to satisfy his Rule 5 draft requirements.

Also injured: INF/OF Jon Berti (left oblique strain), OF/1B Peter O’Brien (left rib contusion), RHP Drew Steckenrider (right flexor strain), INF Neil Walker (right quad strain)

MiLB

  • OF Monte Harrison (hamstring strain) is on the Triple-A New Orleans injured list retroactive to May 26. What was initially described as a “precautionary” move now seems slightly more significant than that. He’s had a strong campaign at the plate—.288/.386/.472, 7 HR in 189 PA—while leading the entire Marlins organization with 19 stolen bases. Harrison ranks No. 3 among Miami’s top prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, and No. 90 on Pipeline’s overall MLB Top 100 list.
  • A hit by pitch—that wasn’t actually ruled a hit by pitch—added injury to an already frustrating 2019 season for OF Víctor Víctor Mesa. The big-name Cuban acquisition was hurt in the first inning Tuesday night and has not played for High-A Jupiter since then, though the team still has him on their active roster. Mesa entered the game with a modest six-game on-base streak to climb to a .223/.273/.259 slash line overall (0 HR in 209 PA).
  • Adam McInturff of 2080 Baseball recently spotted RHP Matt Givin (Tommy John surgery) pitching on the backfields in Jupiter. Givin missed the entire 2018 season with Tommy John, cracking Pipeline’s Marlins Top 30 prior to the injury. From McInturff:

“He carries a 6-foot-3 frame with large, projectable features that look capable of adding velocity, especially considering a fairly clean delivery. His fastball ranges between 87 and 92 mph, showing armside tail at the high-end of its velocity band and a bit of cut action in the 87-to-89 mph range. Givin throws a lot of strikes with the pitch, showing the physical and mechanical tools to project in-zone command with more pro reps. A 74-to-77 mph curveball has consistent two-plane depth but lacks power or sharpness right now, though it could develop into a usable offering with improved finish. His low-80s changeup has funky action that comes across the zone to the gloveside, giving the foundation of a deep-projection three-pitch mix.”

Also injured: RHP Nick Neidert (meniscus), SS José Devers (forearm strain), SS Osiris Johnson* (tibial stress fracture), RHP Brady Puckett* (Tommy John surgery), RHP Tyler Kolek (thoracic outlet syndrome)

*Out for rest of the season