Marlins notebook

College position player is likely first option in draft for Miami Marlins

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

There is strong sentiment within the Marlins organization to take a college position player with their first pick — the sixth overall — in next month’s amateur draft.

With five of the first 80 picks in the draft, the Marlins have a chance to continue adding to their stockpile of young talent in the wake of the team’s roster selloff from last year.

And while the Marlins have usually tended to favor pitching in the draft, their greatest organizational need at the minor- and major-league levels is offense, even with sweet-swinging Christian Yelich tearing it up at Double A Jacksonville.

The Marlins, as well as owner Jeffrey Loria, also prefer someone who can help them sooner rather than later.

Given all that, don’t be surprised if the Marlins select one of two college third baseman — San Diego’s Kris Bryant or North Carolina’s Colin Moran — if either is available at the sixth pick.

ESPN analyst Keith Law calls Moran “the best pure hitter in the college ranks,” while Bryant is one of the top nation’s top college sluggers. Another option is University of New Mexico third baseman D.J. Peterson, who is expected to convert to first.

Most draft experts expect pitchers Mark Appel and Jonathan Gray to be taken with the first two picks, which belong to Houston and the Chicago Cubs, while Bryant is also ranked in the top five on most mock draft boards.

If both of the third basemen have been taken by the time it’s their turn to pick, the Marlins could also go with right-handed pitcher Braden Shipley out of the University of Nevada and use their other early picks on position players.

Mathis activated

Being a catcher, Jeff Mathis is used to pain. He has had his face and wrists broken during the course of his catching career.

But nothing quite prepared Mathis for the pain he experienced after having his collarbone broken by a Matt Holliday foul ball on the second day of spring training.

“There was a week and a half where I couldn’t get out of the recliner because of the pain,’’ said Mathis, 30. “I made my way to the field for maybe 30 or 45 minutes a day. But then it was straight back to the recliner because any movement, like moving my left hand, hurt.’’

After nearly three months of healing and getting back into baseball shape, Mathis is out of the recliner and back in the fold for the Marlins, who brought him off the disabled list on Tuesday before opening a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

“Hopefully it’s the start of guys coming off the DL and good things to come down the road,’’ manager Mike Redmond said.

• Even though they are not obligated to pay Austin Kearns while he is on the restricted list, the Marlins are doing so anyway, according to sources.

Kearns left the team to attend to family medical issues in Kentucky. Kearns is making $700,000 this season.

Coming up

Wednesday: Marlins RHP Alex Sanabia (2-5, 4.85 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds RHP Mike Leake (2-2, 4.32), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.65) vs. Reds RHP Mat Latos (4-0, 3.04), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Scouting report: Sanabia took the loss when he faced the Reds in Cincinnati on April 21, allowing five runs on six hits. The defeat marked the start of his current four-game losing streak.

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