Padres 5, Marlins 1

Injuries continue to pile up in Miami Marlins’ loss to San Diego Padres

 

mnavarro@miamiherald.com

The way things have been going lately, Marlins manager Mike Redmond might want to get used to the idea of playing shorthanded all the time.

On a night the Marlins were hoping would be a special homecoming for starter Alex Sanabia, injuries continued to pile up in a 5-1 loss to the Padres, a game played in front of 16,263 fans at Petco Park.

The Marlins -- already with 10 players on the disabled list -- lost Sanabia in the fifth inning to a tight right groin, and then utility infielder Chris Valaika to a small fracture on the tip of his left wrist.

Sanabia said he doesn't expect to miss his next start and called the injury "a little pull -- nothing serious, just minor." But Valaika, who made Tuesday's start for the recently injured Donovan Solano, appears as though he too will be heading to the disabled list.

"I just got my hand in there and it kind of got bent back, a little hyper extended," said Valaika, who was injured trying to make a catch and tag on Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso while he was stealing second.

"I knew right away something didn't feel right. [Trainer] Sean [Cunningham] and them came out and saw what it was like and decided to take me out."

Will he need surgery? "I don't think so," Valaika said. "But again we just got x-rays and the preliminary stuff -- just a little fracture. Once we see Doctor Kaplan back home we'll go from there."

Making his first big league start back home in front of more than 30 family members and friends a mere 15 minute drive north from his old neighborhood in Chula Vista, Sanabia was hoping for a much better night. But the 24-year old right-hander gave up four quick runs on nine hits and dropped his fourth consecutive start.

He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and left after he struckout Alonso with a runner on in the fifth. He said he didn't feel any discomfort until he made the final pitch to Alonso, his 76th of the night and 52nd strike.

"We did a couple tests it was smooth and felt fine, didn't have any problems. I should be good for the next start," Sanabia said.

Rookie right fielder Marcell Ozuna, who had the six-game hitting streak to open his career snapped on Monday night, got back to providing some glimmers of excitement for Miami (10-24).

He produced two hits -- including a fourth inning, two-out RBI double to right off Padres starter Eric Stults that ended the Marlins' 0-for-10 start in San Diego with runners in scoring position -- and made a stellar, highlight reel diving catch in right field in the seventh.

But he also made his first error of the season, botching a ground ball in the first which led to a run, and had arguably the weirdest moment of the night an inning later when he setup to catch a fly ball from Will Venable only to have it sail way over his head for a two-run home run.

Ozuna didn't just confuse TV cameramen by looking like he had a beat on it, but Venable too. Eventually, Ozuna began waving his hands to signal he had lost the ball. Moments later it landed about 10 rows back in the right field seat, a 355-foot shot that made it 3-0 in the second.

"I saw when it came off the bat, but once it got up there I couldn't tell where it was," Ozuna said. "I didn't know it was out until I saw the umpire call the home run."

The Padres (15-18) then tacked on another run later that inning on Everth Cabrera's two-out RBI single to right. That was more than enough offense for Stults, who went 6 1/3 innings, scattered seven hits, walked two and struckout four to improve to 3-2.

The Marlins, who came in having gone 5-for-38 on the road trip with runners in scoring position, finished 1-for-6 Tuesday to drop their average on the trip to .136. They came in hitting .222 on the season (58 of 261).

But hitting might not be the biggest of concerns for the Marlins moving forward. With Valaika and Solano out the Marlins are now down to veteran utility man Nick Green as their only other experienced middle infielder outside of starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and third baseman Placido Polanco.

Chris Coghlan, who hadn't played second base since his major league debut on May 8, 2009, saw his first action there as an emergency fill-in when Valaika went down. He immediately took a ground ball and flipped it to Hechavarria for a quick out, but the Marlins couldn't turn what might have been an inning-ending double play.

"I got no problem playing there," Coghlan said of second base. "Besides short, pitcher and catcher I feel I can play anywhere. I have confidence in the abilities I've been given. I take grounders every day for stuff like this. You never expect its going to happen. But that's why it pays to be ready and practice for whatever."

Redmond and Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest will likely have to make another move on the 40-man roster to provide more infield depth. They were meeting late into the night Tuesday.

"It's tough right now, especially losing guys," Coghlan said. "We have a lot of guys on the DL, we're losing games. It's tough, but this is an opportunity to build some character, team camaraderie."

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