The Marlins had Martin Prado back at third base on Thursday.
Now can he and they find a way to keep him there for a while?
Prado was activated from the disabled list after a six-week absence that marked the latest setback in a frustrating, injury-riddled 16-month span for the Marlins’ 34-year old third baseman.
Prado made an immediate impact hitting his first home run in over a year in the second inning of Thursday night's game to highlight a six-run frame.
It was the first time Prado played since May 25th when he strained his left hamstring, which he originally hurt in March of 2017 while playing in the World Baseball Classic.
At the time, some speculated if Prado would be out longer. But after six rehab games in the minors, the Marlins deemed Prado was ready to come back.
"At the beginning we thought it was going to be something longer, but the signs of how quickly I was responding to activities accelerated the process,” Prado said. “Just playing games and stuff I could do faster than the first time dictated that I was ready to go.”
Entering Thursday’s game, Prado had played in only 61 games since the start of the 2017 season.
After a couple of stints on the DL due to the hamstring injury, Prado also underwent right knee surgery that ended his 2017 season in July.
Prado then started this season in late April and played a month before hurting the hamstring again.
Prado, a .290 career hitter, was batting .194 (18 for 93) with no home runs and three RBI in 24 games.
"In general, we’re trying to use him and give guys periodic days off, same with him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve put a little plan in place so he doesn’t have to play seven or eight days in a row.”
Prado said he felt better during this rehab than the last time he had a setback, but hopes managing his workload and conditioning will help avoid another.
"I’m just hoping I can find a routine where I don’t do too much and just find that balance and just play baseball,” Prado said. “It’s a very important part as you get older is keeping your body in shape and giving it time to recover.”
The Marlins placed Tayron Guerrero on the 10-day disabled list with a left lumbar strain retro to Wednesday.
Guerrero last pitched Tuesday in the Marlins’ 16-inning loss to the Rays. Guerrero is 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 40 innings (41 appearances) with 54 strikeouts and 24 walks.
"That’s been kind of going on for 10 days, two weeks where we’ve trying to get him through it,” Mattingly said. “We haven’t used him back-to-back at all. With the usage of the bullpen, we felt we couldn’t protect him anymore and we just had to make a decision to get rid of it and try to get it under control and get him right and move forward.”
Guerrero’s average velocity on his four-seam fastball has been clocked by Statcast as the third-highest in baseball (98.4 mph) among pitchers that have thrown at least 100 pitches behind Aroldis Chapman (99.3) and Jordan Hicks (100.3).
Perhaps an encouraging sign was that Guerrero’s velocity did not drop in his last appearance as Guerrero averaged 99.1 mph and touched 101.3 during his last appearance Tuesday against the Rays.
Shortstop JT Riddle was held out of the lineup on Thursday with tightness in left hip. Riddle said he landed awkwardly when sliding into home plate to score the Marlins' second run in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game.
"I woke up this morning and it just didn’t feel right,” Riddle said. “It probably had to do with the slide at home plate, but we did play a lot of innings of baseball in two days so that could have been it too.”
The Marlins recalled right-handed pitcher Ben Meyer from Triple A New Orleans. In his two previous call-ups to the majors this season, Meyer has pitched eight innings (four appearances), compiling a 3.38 ERA with five walks and three strikeouts.
The Marlins also designated outfielder JB Shuck for assignment. Shuck, who would have to clear waivers for the Marlins to keep him in the organization, hit .192 with three doubles, a triple and four RBI in 130 at-bats this season.
The move leaves the Marlins with only one true center fielder on the active roster in Cameron Maybin. Mattingly said the club plans to play infielder Yadiel Rivera in center field when necessary.
Friday: Miami Marlins RHP Dan Straily (3-4, 4.70 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.77), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
Saturday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 5.55) vs. Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.16), 7:15 p.m., Nationals Park.