Martin Prado didn’t expect the season to end like this.
For the second season in a row, the Marlins’ veteran infielder ended the year on the disabled list. This time, it was a right abdominal strain that forced him to end the year off the field.
And now, the 34-year-old and one of the leaders in Miami’s clubhouse knows he could be at a potential crossroad late in his baseball career.
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“I wouldn’t [wish] this on my worst enemy,” said Prado, who hit .244 with 18 RBI in 54 games this season. “A lot of frustration.”
The injury woes began before the 2017 season, when he suffered a hamstring injury playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Prado missed the first 12 games of the year and another 41 in a row in the middle of the season. The Marlins ultimately shut Prado down on July 17 when he went onto the DL with a right knee sprain. He played in just 37 games that season, posting a .250 batting average with two home runs, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored.
The struggles continued into 2018, with Prado opening the season on the DL for the first 24 games after dealing with a setback in his rehab and then missed another 38-game stretch from late May to early July.
And then on Saturday, Prado felt a “sharp pain” down his right side. An ultrasound confirmed the abdominal strain.
“It would be a different story if I didn’t do enough,” said Prado, who indicated that he does not believe he will need surgery. “I literally changed my whole routine. ... Sometimes there’s stuff you can’t control. I did everything they asked me.”
Despite the constant setbacks, Prado has tried to remain stoic in the clubhouse. He doesn’t want the pain he has endured to negatively affect a young club that’s in the process of rebuilding.
“They don’t need to know my frustration because that’s contagious,” Prado said. “I don’t want any of my teammates to be part of my issues that I’m dealing with.”
Manager Don Mattingly added: “Some of the younger guys might not have seen what he’s been through. The fact that he’s here every day when he has a chance to play or getting ready to come back from injury, he’s just working all the time. ... He’s been a great example for our guys.”
The Marlins now have a serious decision to make with Prado, who is slated to earn $15 million next season as part of the final year of his three-year, $40 million contract.
Prado also has a decision to make about his baseball future overall.
“I’m not 20 anymore,” Prado said. “Sometimes you have to learn the hard way. I learned the hard way.”
In the meantime, Mattingly said he expects Derek Dietrick and recent callup Peter O’Brien — who hit 30 home runs in the minor league this season, including one stretch of seven in six games with Miami’s Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp — to handle first base in Prado’s absence for the final month of the season.
▪ In other roster moves, the Marlins reinstated pitchers Jarlin Garcia and Elieser Hernandez from the 10-day DL following rehab assignments, recalled utility player Chris Bostick from Triple-A New Orleans, selected the contract of pitcher Tyler Kinley and transferred outfielder Garrett Cooper to the 60-day DL.
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