Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill held a conference call Thursday afternoon with local media. He aligned with Derek Jeter’s comments on the topic of COVID-19—no Marlins personnel have tested positive nor are they showing any symptoms. Moreover, Hill had encouraging updates on how several of his players are progressing from baseball injuries suffered during 2020 spring camp.
- C Jorge Alfaro—The athletic catcher appeared in only two Grapefruit League games, derailed by left oblique tightness. But in the days before Spring Training was cancelled, he was spotted catching bullpen sessions and taking batting practice. Alfaro had a decent chance of being cleared in time for the regularly scheduled Opening Day. Hill says he’s now back to full strength. Alfaro has been participating in outdoor workouts throughout the stay-at-home period, according to his Instagram Story. Trying to improve his flexibility!
Morning yoga with Jorge and Harold pic.twitter.com/MCpfTtHRZI— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 9, 2020
- RHP Jeff Brigham—The most severe injury among players on the 40-man roster, Brigham was sidelined with a right biceps issue. That made him a candidate for 60-day IL placement in order to accommodate one of the Marlins’ standout non-roster invitees. Hill says the hard-throwing reliever is currently going through a throwing progression, though not at team facilities (which are closed).
- RHP Ryne Stanek—Speaking of hard-throwing relievers, Stanek is riding out the pandemic upstate in Tampa and still receiving treatment for his sore back. More so than Brigham, he is a virtual lock for an active roster spot if his health permits.
Veteran right-handed reliever and NRI Ryan Cook was not mentioned by Hill. He spent part of camp in a walking boot to protect a bruised toe on his right foot and made zero Grapefruit League appearances. It’s unclear what the specifics of his minor league contract are in regards to opt outs—that could determine whether he even stays with the Marlins organization for the regular season.
Also of note, prospect right-hander Brady Puckett underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2019. He began throwing nearly seven months ago, and as of one month ago, he was working off a mound (via Fish On The Farm). Barring setbacks, he should be able to open 2020 on the roster of a Marlins full-season MiLB affiliate. Puckett owns a career 2.66 ERA in the minors with a five-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio in 176 innings pitched.