There is about to be a changing of the guard for the Marlins at the hot corner. It will be in with the old and out with the new at third base when Martin Prado returns from the disabled list, a move that is expected to occur in the coming days.
Prado will reclaim his position at third, but it won’t cost rookie Brian Anderson, who has been playing there in his absence, his place in the everyday lineup.
Manager Don Mattingly said Anderson will start seeing time in the outfield and first base while spelling Prado at third on occasion.
“We’ll find ways to get them both in the lineup,” Mattingly said of Anderson and Prado.
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Prado on Wednesday played in what was likely his final injury rehab game for Single A Jupiter. Barring any setbacks, the Marlins will likely add him to their roster, perhaps as early as Friday when they open a six-game home stand, starting with the Rockies.
Prado, 34, is returning from leg injuries that limited him to only 37 games last season and resulted in his undergoing knee surgery in late July.
Due to Prado’s advancing age, Mattingly doesn’t foresee playing him at third on a day-in-day-out basis.
“Martin’s not going to be able to play everyday, everyday, everyday,” Mattingly said. “I think we’re also better off with him getting his days off — once a week, maybe two — keeping him strong and fresh. He’s not old, but he’s getting older.”
Anderson will fill in for Prado on days he’s not in the lineup. Otherwise, he’ll be seeing time in the outfield and at third base.
“My job is to help this team anyway I can,” Anderson said. “If they feel I’m more valuable playing the outfield, playing first base, it’s my job to help the team, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”
This much is certain: Mattingly wants to keep Anderson’s bat in the lineup at the Major League level.
“I think the biggest key is him getting at bats,” Mattingly said. “And I think he’s proven that he’s not going to get better playing Triple A. The biggest thing you want as a young player is at bats.”
Jarlin's Marlins management
The Marlins intend to get creative with Jarlin Garcia to ensure he pitches to season’s end. That includes skipping turns in the rotation and using him out of the bullpen in long relief.
The reason: Garcia worked just 57 innings out of the bullpen last season and the Marlins don’t want to overextend him as a starter out of caution for his arm.
“We’ve got to manage his innings for sure, and the way Jarlin’s pitching, you don’t want to mess him up in the long run,” Mattingly said. “We’ll probably be able to skip him at times, slip him into the long relief role at times, just to give him that 7- to 10-day break where he’s out of the rotation and still be competitive on the mound.”
Garcia has gone 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his three starts.
Dietrich's defense shines
Derek Dietrich made perhaps his best catch as an outfielder Tuesday when he made a diving grab to his right on a sinking liner.
“It’s the only one I’ve ever made,” Dietrich said with a smile.
Dietrich said after muffing a routine fly ball in Milwaukee on Sunday, he decided to become more aggressive and take chances, as he did in Tuesday’s game.
“Obviously I’m not the most experienced outfielder,” he said. “But I’m going to try to be as aggressive as possible on all balls hit in the outfield from now on. If I’m going to make a mistake, I want it to be an aggressive mistake.”