One-third of the way through their Grapefruit League schedule, the Marlins have been relatively fortunate on the injury front. Let’s get caught up on the few concerns that they do have in major league camp.
- C Jorge Alfaro—Shortly before Thursday night’s game, Alfaro was scratched from the Marlins lineup with left oblique tightness. According to manager Don Mattingly, the plan was for him to avoid throwing and swinging a bat until the discomfort subsided. As of Tuesday morning, there has been no indication that he’s ready to return yet. You may recall that last spring, the Colombian backstop barely saw game action (because of a minor knee injury) and still made it onto the Opening Day roster, so don’t panic.
- RHP Jeff Brigham—A right biceps issue has Brigham behind schedule. He provided approximately replacement-level production in the majors in 2019 (4.46 ERA/5.07 FIP/4.90 xFIP in 38.1 IP), but featured intriguing fastball velocity and a sharp slider, hinting at a potential breakout at age 28. Currently, I am projecting him to begin 2020 on the 10-day injured list, which would be the right-hander’s fifth consecutive season missing time for health reasons. One potential consequence of that, for example, could be Elieser Hernandez, who has nothing left to prove at Triple-A, missing out on a rotation spot but still cracking the active roster in a relief role.
- SS Jazz Chisholm—The dynamic shortstop was sidelined briefly due to a mild hamstring strain, but appears to be fine after participating in games on both Sunday and Monday.
However, we have yet to see him start in the past week. Chisholm owns a team-leading .750 on-base percentage in the Grapefruit League (among all Marlins with multiple games played).
- RHP Ryan Cook—The non-roster invitee is wearing a walking boot on his right foot to allow his bruised toe to heal. That boot may finally be coming off this week, according to Mattingly’s initial estimate. Even more so than Brigham, Cook appears to be out of time to make himself an Opening Day candidate. Best-case scenario, the former AL All-Star gets ready for the start of the Triple-A Wichita season on Apr. 9.
- OF Jesús Sánchez—The Marlins have confirmed that Sánchez underwent hernia surgery during his hospital visit in December. He was held out of game action at the very beginning of Spring Training as a precaution, but since Thursday, he has been participating without any restrictions. Sánchez’s career high for games played in a single professional season is 117. The expectation is for him to receive a midsummer call-up in 2020 and surpass that total.
- OF/INF Jonathan Villar—The switch-hitting offseason acquisition tells Jeremy Taché of Swings and Mishes that his center field experiment was delayed by shoulder soreness. Villar has now played there three times, but hasn’t had to test his arm in a meaningful game situation. The only two batted balls in his direction so far? A routine fly out (with nobody on base) and a line drive single in front of him where the throw went to second base. That’s something to monitor closely in the coming weeks.
Expect “Marlins injury updates” articles approximately twice per month through the end of the regular season.