“The Lion”, Miami Marlins new catcher, is glad to be closer to home
Jorge Alfaro isn’t in the lineup for the Miami Marlins for their series finale against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, but it has nothing to do with the two minor mishaps behind home plate in the first two games at Great American Ball Park.
Alfaro, who started at catcher in nine of the Marlins’ first 12 games, got hit on follow-throughs on back-to-back nights to open the three-game set in Cincinnati. First, Jesse Winker knocked Alfaro in the head Tuesday, then Tucker Barnhart did the same in the Reds’ 2-1 win Wednesday. The catcher stayed in the game both times, although he is getting a regularly scheduled day off Thursday when the Marlins close out their three-game set at 12:35 p.m.
“Absolutely. We’ve been kind of working him,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He didn’t play hardly at all in spring training, but he’s basically going to get a day every few days.”
Alfaro, who came to Miami (3-9) in February as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade, has been perhaps the Marlins’ most productive hitter in the early part of the season. The 25-year-old is batting .258 and slugging .548 with three home runs, including a two-homer game against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday. Alfaro, however, opened the series against Cincinnati (3-8) just 1 for 6.
The hit to his head Wednesday briefly seemed potentially serious as Alfaro tipped over to his left. The Marlins brought a trainer out to check on Alfaro before he stayed in the game and caught all nine innings of the narrow loss.
“I just felt dizzy the moment that I got hit,” Alfaro said, “but it just went away.”
Here are the full lineups for the series finale at GABP:
Curtis Granderson, LF
Brian Anderson, 3B
Neil Walker, 1B
Starlin Castro, 2B
Miguel Rojas, SS
Lewis Brinson, CF
Peter O’Brien, RF
Chad Wallach, C
Jesse Winker, CF
Joey Votto, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Eugenio Suarez, 3B
Matt Kemp, LF
Jose Peraza, 2B
Curt Casali, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Sonny Gray, SP
This and that
▪ Brian Anderson is back in the lineup after getting a day off. Mattingly hopes the day to observe will help the slugging third baseman bust his career-worst slump. “You never know, but honestly you just want him to step back and watch,” Mattingly said. “The saying I’ve always heard: Sometimes you’re too close to the forest to see the trees, and sometimes when you’re fighting and you’re in there every day, you don’t get a chance to take a breath.”
▪ The Marlins return home for a nine-game homestand Friday, beginning with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The scheduled starting pitchers: Sandy Alcantara for Friday, Caleb Smith for Saturday and Jose Urena for Sunday.