The bleak shortstop picture for the Marlins brightened some on Friday.
J.T. Riddle’s finger injury wasn’t as serious as initially feared, and the rookie is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday night.
“We feel like he’ll be ready to go [Saturday],” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Riddle was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup after injuring his right index finger while taking ground balls that day during infield practice.
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But he said the finger was feeling better by Friday.
“I hit and threw,” Riddle said. “Everything felt fine. A little tenderness, but nothing too much to worry about. More of a bone bruise, I think.”
It was welcome news for the Marlins, who have dealt with an avalanche of injuries to their infielders, especially to their shortstops. They placed two of their shortstops, Adeiny Hechavarria and Miguel Rojas, on the disabled list.
Third baseman Martin Prado also landed on the DL recently.
That left Riddle as their only true shortstop option. When he couldn’t play Wednesday, second baseman Dee Gordon moved to short. Gordon came up as a shortstop but hadn’t played there in four years.
Gordon was back at shortstop on Friday, but probably for the last time.
“We want to get him back to where we think he’s best,” Mattingly said. “And get [Riddle] back in a normal spot. You looked out there the other night, you know you’ve got guys playing in different spots.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Marlins brought in reinforcements on Friday, calling up uber-utility player Mike Aviles from Triple A New Orleans.
Aviles is a nine-year major-league veteran and career .263 hitter. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher. But he has spent the majority of his career playing middle infield: 281 starts at shortstop and 146 at second base.
He became the sixth player the Marlins have promoted from Triple A since Sunday. Two of those, including catcher Tomas Telis, have since been sent back.
Telis was optioned to New Orleans on Friday to make room for Aviles.
Aviles has spent his entire career in the American League with Kansas City, Boston, Toronto and Detroit.
▪ Even though he said his arm is feeling better, lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen’s return remains up in the air.
Chen landed on the DL with arm fatigue.
But he threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and said his arm felt strong Thursday when he played catch. He’ll throw another bullpen Saturday, and the Marlins could put him back on the mound on Tuesday.
“I’m feeling real good,” Chen said. “Nothing weird. Just normal.”
Said Mattingly: “We’re feeling pretty positive about the way Wei-Yin’s feeling.”
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Edinson Volquez (0-4, 4.71 ERA) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (2-3, 4.69), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins (TBA) vs. Braves RHP R.A. Dickey (3-2, 4.29), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.