Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins send Peter O’Brien to minors in ‘easily our toughest decision’ of spring

Marlins manager calls Peter O’Brien move one of toughest in spring training

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about Peter O'Brien being optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
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Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about Peter O'Brien being optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

The Miami Marlins made one of their biggest roster moves on the second-to-last day of spring training.

In what manager Don Mattingly called “easily our toughest decision,” the Marlins announced Saturday afternoon before their night game against the Houston Astros that they have optioned Peter O’Brien to Triple-A New Orleans.

“A lot of factors are going into it,” Mattingly said, “and you know what, when you make a decision like that, you don’t know if it ends up being the right one or not, but we’ll find out. We had to make one.”

O’Brien, a Hialeah native, is one of the Marlins’ few pure power hitters, but he still had trouble with consistency at the plate.

And while O’Brien will not start on the big league team, there’s still a good chance that he will make an appearance at some point this season.

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Miami Marlins right fielder Peter O’Brien (45) bats during the first inning of a Major League Baseball spring training game against the New York Mets at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 in Jupiter, FL. DAVID SANTIAGO dsantiago@miamiherald.com

However, the move seemingly points to Garrett Cooper starting Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies in right field and ends one of the primary position battles the team had this spring in right field. Curtis Granderson is expected to platoon in left field and Lewis Brinson is penciled as the starting center fielder. Rosell Herrera, who is out of options, should be the team’s utility backup.

Cooper, who had just 38 plate appearances last season while dealing with wrist injuries, has had a surprising spring training, hitting .421 (16-for-38) with four doubles and six RBI in 19 games.

“I came in. I’ve done what I was expected to do. Hitting how I’m hitting, it’ll be frustrating if I don’t make it,” Cooper said after Friday’s 5-5 tie against the Washington Nationals, a game in which Cooper went 2-for-3 and safely reached base for the ninth consecutive game. “The opportunity is there. ... I think I’ve pushed the bill of deserving to be on the roster.”

Mattingly, however, is not going as far as to announce that just yet. Mattingly said the team will announce its full 25-man roster at noon on Opening Day Thursday even though he said most if not all of the team’s roster decisions have been made.

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