Kevin Gregg, back in a Marlins uniform Thursday for the first time since he saved 61 games for them between the 2007 and ’08 seasons, said he came close to signing with a few different teams in the National League East before ultimately settling on his former employers.
So why the Marlins?
“They got a chance to win the division,” Gregg said.
“It’s a team that’s playing good baseball this far into the season. Coming in to add a little depth to the bullpen, it seemed like a good fit for both sides.”
Gregg, who turns 36 on Friday and has served as a closer in six of the past seven seasons for the Marlins, Blue Jays, Orioles and most recently the Cubs, could end up closing games for the Marlins if Steve Cishek needs a break.
But up to this point, manager Mike Redmond said the Marlins haven’t really needed to do that. Gregg, though, will pitch in the late innings, and it is hard not to envision him becoming the setup guy if he performs well.
• First baseman Justin Bour , who is 6-4, 250, has the locker right next to Gregg (6-6, 245) in the Marlins’ clubhouse.
The two stood side-by-side and posed for photos with their glasses on Thursday, like twins. They definitely look like they could be brothers.
“He’s my stunt double,” Gregg joked.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, activated from the disabled list Thursday after recovering from a mild concussion sustained on May 31 when he was struck in the catcher’s helmet by a foul ball, said he is going to stick with the same hockey-style catcher’s mask he has worn all season.
Even though former Red Sox teammate David Ross switched to a traditional catcher’s mask after sustaining a similar concussion last August, Saltalamacchia believes the mask has little to do with it.
“There’s no evidence saying the hockey mask is the reason concussions are happening,” Saltalamacchia said. “I know the traditional masks are better. But it was just a matter of hitting that spot.”
Redmond said the team will keep a close eye on Saltalamacchia and give him a day off if he needs it in the coming days.
Saltalamacchia said he felt good catching and hitting in the minors after some extended spring training work, but “the only timing you’re going to get is by being up here. You can only get so many [Single] A balls or Triple A balls.”
After hitting .299 with five homers and nine RBI in April, Saltalamacchia hit just .177 with one homer and seven RBI in 23 games as he struggled throughout May.
• Redmond said that left fielder Christian Yelich, who took “dry swings” and played catch Thursday, should be ready to go as soon as his stint on the disabled list ends on July 1. Yelich injured his lower back last Friday.
“I know he’s feeling good,” Redmond said. “He’ll probably get a couple [rehab] games in before he’s up and ready to go.”
• Giancarlo Stanton reiterated Thursday that he probably could have stayed in the game Wednesday but was wisely taken out as a precautionary measure after bruising his wrist.
“I’ll be fine. I’ll be out there,” Stanton said.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. New York Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0, 2.81), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (5-5, 3.84) vs. Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (0-4, 4.39), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.