Derek Dietrich proved his toughness yet again.
The Marlins’ seemingly unbreakable infielder appears to have survived another scare after being nailed with a pitch during Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over the Pirates.
Dietrich went down in pain after the ball hit him just above his left wrist, and immediately went into the clubhouse for examination.
A day later, Dietrich said he only suffered what he was told was a bone bruise, but x-rays showed no significant injury.
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“Dodged another one,” Dietrich said. “It’s nothing I’m not accustomed to since I get hit by balls plenty of times. I’m a little sore, but I feel like I can give it a go if I had to.”
Fortunately for the Marlins, Dietrich’s latest run-in with a rapidly-moving baseball sparked the winning rally in the eighth inning when Miguel Rojas, pinch running for Dietrich scored the go-ahead run on a double by Adeiny Hechavarria.
“The best part about it is we needed someone to get on base and we won the ball game,” Dietrich said. “I wasn’t trying to get hit like that for sure. It kind of scared me because I had never been hit on the wrist like that. My arm went numb for a little bit. Everything came back ok and I won’t have to miss any time which is important.”
Only three days earlier in Atlanta, Dietrich was hit by a line drive foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich that found its way into the Marlins’ dugout, ricocheted off the back of the wall and hit him in the back of the head.
Dietrich was down for a few minutes after the incident and remained in Atlanta overnight, and returned the next day. He was later medically cleared once he passed all exams and a concussion was ruled out.
Dietrich has been hit by pitches nine times this season which is tied with Cubs’ slugger Anthony Rizzo for the most in the National League. Only Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer has been hit more (15).
So what exactly causes Dietrich to be so prone to getting hit by pitches?
“I’m a firm believer in not moving in the batter’s box,” Dietrich said. “It’s my box and I stay in it and if they throw it in there, it’s an opportunity to get on base. Obviously, you never want to get hit high up in the hands or wrist because you see a lot of bad things happen when that happens.
“It’s the batter’s box, not the pitcher’s box. He’s got a plate to throw it over and if he doesn’t, it’s his fault. I’m glad it worked out in our favor this time.”
Dietrich has also proven his value to the team this season especially in the wake of Dee Gordon’s 80-game suspension.
Dietrich, who turns 27 on July 18, is hitting .311 with three homers and 22 RBI in 135 at-bats. In May, Dietrich started 25 games and hit .333 with seven doubles and 14 RBI for the month.
Although Dietrich has played primarily at second base (31 games this season), he has also been used at third base six times and can play first base and in the outfield if the need would arise.
“No question it would have been a big blow [had we lost Dietrich],” Mattingly said.
PHELPS FEELING CONFIDENT
David Phelps said his confidence is growing in his late-inning setup role.
After getting a double play ball to escape a seventh-inning jam, Phelps struck out three of Pittsburgh’s best hitters – Andrew McCutchen, David Freese and Starling Marte in order in the top of the eighth. The Marlins broke the tie in the bottom half of the inning and went on to secure the victory after A.J. Ramos picked up his 17th save.
Phelps (4-3) picked up the win and has compiled a 1.76 ERA in 30 2/3 innings this season with 39 strikeouts and 10 walks.
“I feel like I have good command of my stuff right now,” Phelps said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence built up from the year and in everything J.T. [Realmuto] is calling behind the plate.”
Phelps said he got some inspiration pregame after reliever Bryan Morris texted him that his back surgery went well.
Morris and the Marlins remain hopeful he will be able to return to action by September.
“That was definitely good news,” Phelps said. “All good vibes right now.”
Friday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (3-5, 4.50 ERA) vs. Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (5-2, 1.84 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Saturday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (2-3, 4.50 ERA) vs. Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.39 ERA), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.