Just when the positive injury news kept rolling in for the Marlins on Monday, they received another piece of possibly troubling injury news.
The good news is that C Jorge Alfaro was activated off the injured list as the Marlins opened their series with the Phillies on Monday. In a corresponding move, C Chad Wallach was optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville. Alfaro did not appear in Monday’s game.
The Marlins have struggled to find any offense from behind the plate this year as their catchers have combined for an anemic .195/.234/.252/.485 slash line and a 36.8 K%. In fact, Marlins catchers have double the amount of strikeouts as they do hits.
The team will certainly be hoping that Alfaro will be able to stay healthy and find the form from his 2019 season when he hit 18 home runs and had 95 wRC+. While that would still below average offensive production, it would be a massive improvement over what the Marlins have had this season from their catchers.
More good news came as the Marlins announced that CF Starling Marte will begin a rehab stint with Triple-A Jacksonville on Tuesday. Marte’s absence left a major hole in the Marlins lineup that they have struggled to replace. Marte had a massive start in 16 games this season, tallying 153 wRC+ and 1.0 fWAR, and helped carry the load on offense in the early season.
Without Marte, a Marlins offense that was league average with him has spiraled into the bottom 10 in wRC+, currently sitting in 24th with 87. He will no doubt provide much needed consistency to the lineup upon his return, and could provide just the boost the Marlins need to continue to hang in there in the NL East.
As for a return date, Marlins manager Don Mattingly didn’t have one in mind, but he did say the Marlins are “pretty comfortable with where he’s at.” The team just wants him to get back up to speed and see that he can feel good after playing. It’s most likely he returns next week (on the road vs. Blue Jays or Pirates).
Even more good news came Monday that may be the most exciting bit yet for Marlins fans as RHP Sixto Sánchez is scheduled to throw a bullpen this week, a step forward in his progression. Sixto is working back from a shoulder issue and the Marlins have been taking their time with him, so any step forward is a big development.
It is likely that Sixto will throw multiple bullpen sessions before moving to the next step of his progression, which is throwing live batting practice. After that, he will most likely begin making rehab starts to build back up. It could still be a while before we see Sixto, but this is no doubt an important step assuming all goes well with his bullpen.
As for the bad news, Brian Anderson left Monday’s game with left shoulder soreness. He walked and scored in his only plate appearance of the game. This is the second time Anderson has dealt with an injury this year, the first was an oblique strain that held him out for about two weeks in late April.
Don Mattingly told the media Anderson has been dealing with this for a couple days and he aggravated it as the shoulder stiffened up on Monday. Mattingly said there is some concern when something stiffens up in the way it did for Anderson.
Jon Berti pinch hit for Anderson in the 3rd inning and seems to be the easy replacement for the time being. “Next guy up,” said Corey Dickerson simply after the game. Attention will turn to Anderson in the coming days as the Marlins wait and see about his status.
Anderson has been hot recently and the Marlins have won six of eight, so they seem to be getting healthy at the right time. Anderson going down as the Marlins start to build momentum could be a huge blow that has the Marlins in wait and see mode.
Other Injury Notes
-RHP Elieser Hernandez pitched two rehab starts at Triple A-Jacksonville this week and was named Triple-A East Play of the Week. In those two starts he has not given up a run in seven and two-thirds innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out 12. He is eligible to return June 4 from the 60-Day IL.
Congratulations to Elieser Hernández who has been named the Triple-A East Pitcher of the Week!— Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (@JaxShrimp) May 24, 2021
-RHP Edward Cabrera threw a live batting practice last week and is scheduled to throw another this week.
-OF Lewis Brinson took batting practice on Sunday and Monday.