Christian Yelich did not see action for the fourth consecutive game, and Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the left fielder is still day-to-day with back spasms.
“I think he feels better,” Mattingly said of Yelich after Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. “He thought he was going to be able to walk in here today and feel great and that just wasn’t the case.”
Yelich has been one of the National League’s best hitters early this season. His .320 average ranks 13th in the league, and his .420 on-base percentage ranks seventh. On Monday, Yelich was announced as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, but after the Rays changed pitchers, Cole Gillespie replaced Yelich at the plate and delivered the game-tying sacrifice fly.
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“We’re going to be cautious with him,” Mattingly said of Yelich. “(We want to) make sure we don’t run into a situation where we lose him for a month.”
The two-game series at Marlins Park marked Logan Morrison’s first game action in Miami as a member of the opposing team.
“When I came back with the Mariners (in 2014), even though I was inactive, it was a little weird,” Morrison said, adding that playing as a visitor in his long-time home ballpark felt “a little more normal this time.”
Morrison had a rough April, tallying six hits in 60 at-bats, but he swung a hot bat on the Rays’ most recent road trip. Morrison went 12-for-23 over the eight-game stretch, finishing with a three-for-three performance Tuesday afternoon against his former teammates.
“It’s always good to see those guys,” Morrison said. “It looks like they’re doing well. They’ve got a good team this year…they’re definitely tough to play against.”
After stealing three bases in 363 games as a Marlin, Morrison stole his third base of 2016 Tuesday against Miami. He also advanced to third base on a fly ball, challenging Marlin center fielder Marcell Ozuna’s arm.
“(I was) just trying to make something happen,” Morrison said of his aggressive base-running. “Tagging up with Ozuna there, I know he has a cannon, (but with) the pitcher being on deck, I wanted to get (catcher Hank) Conger an opportunity.”
Morrison remains friendly with several Marlins, including outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who entered the Citrus Series in a slump.
“Hopefully we can keep Stanton cold until we get these two games out of the way,” Morrison said. “I hope he does really well, just not for the next 48 hours.”
OZUNA STAYS HOT
He was not able to throw Morrison out at third base, but Marcell Ozuna did hit two doubles and score two runs in Tuesday’s game. Ozuna has now reached base in his last 31 games, which is the longest streak by a Marlin since Casey McGehee got on base in 31 consecutive 2014 contests. Ozuna has a .407 career average against Tampa Bay, and he’s recorded at least one hit in all 15 games he’s played against the Rays.