Miami Marlins

Tyler Moore expected to earn Miami Marlins Opening Day spot after strong spring

Miami Marlin's first baseman Tyler Moore is congratulated by teammates after a seventh-inning home run pushed the Marlins to an 8-7 lead during Saturday's 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.
Miami Marlin's first baseman Tyler Moore is congratulated by teammates after a seventh-inning home run pushed the Marlins to an 8-7 lead during Saturday's 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Sun Sentinel

Tyler Moore wasn’t sure he would ever get another chance.

Moore, a 30-year-old former backup first baseman/left fielder for the Washington Nationals, sustained a knee injury at the end of the 2015 season and hasn’t played in the majors since.

But if things turn out as expected, Moore should find himself back at Nationals Park on Monday — in a Marlins uniform.

The Marlins aren’t planning to formally announce their Opening Day roster until Sunday.

But with Martin Prado starting the season on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, all signs point to Moore earning a spot on the team’s projected four-man bench.

“I just tried to come into camp and put everything on the table, and act like it was the last opportunity I was going to get,” Moore said. “Being hurt last year gave me a new perspective on the game. I’m just enjoying being in the present and enjoying the moment.”

Moore, 30, played in 277 games for the Nationals from 2012-15 and hit 24 home runs with 91 RBI over that span with a .228 average.

It’s been over a year since Moore, a right-handed hitter, made his last official plate appearance in the majors.

But this spring he showed a lot of power, hitting a team-best five home runs to likely earn the final roster spot.

The Marlins would have Moore back up Justin Bour at first base and would keep him as another outfield option should the need arise.

Moore sustained in 2015 what he described as a torn tendon on the top of his left knee. He didn’t have surgery but it sidelined him for four months. Moore did a stint in the minors last season with the Atlanta Braves before becoming a free agent.

With pitcher Jake Esch claimed by the San Diego Padres off waivers on Friday, a spot opened on the Marlins’ 40-man roster, which would facilitate a spot for Moore, a non-roster invitee.

“[Moore’s] had a great camp,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said earlier in the spring. “He’s swung the bat well. He’s showed us he’s really good at first. We’ve had him in the outfield some, and he did a good job out there. We’ve seen quality at-bats from him all spring.”

ADDING DEPTH

Matt den Dekker and Brandon Barnes, both outfielders and non-roster invitees, did not exercise their opt-out options and will remain with the Marlins, although it’s likely each will open the season at Triple A.

Infielder Ryan Jackson, a University of Miami and Florida Christian graduate, will also open the season in the minors.

YELICH SCRATCHED

Christian Yelich ended his spring a little earlier than expected Saturday after being scratched from the lineup with what the Marlins described as “general leg stiffness.”

Yelich and Mattingly said it was a precautionary move and that Yelich would be ready for Monday’s season opener.

COMING UP

▪ Sunday: Off.

▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Edinson Volquez (10-11, 5.37 ERA in 2016) at Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 3.60), 1:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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