Miami Marlins

The Marlins backup catcher is making the most of his recent extended playing time

With catcher Jorge Alfaro sitting out the past two games while dealing with an upper body injury suffered in the Marlins’ 10-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Chad Wallach has received extra playing time recently.

And he has made the most of it.

Wallach has gone 3 for 8 at the plate with three walks since replacing Alfaro in the seventh inning on Saturday and is hitting .333 in 21 at-bats overall this season.

His highlight plate appearance came in the fourth inning of Monday’s 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, when he roped a 405-foot home run off Cubs starter Yu Darvish.

“I just go out and play,” said Wallach, who has caught the Marlins’ last 25 innings. “If my name is in the lineup, I’m playing, and I’m going to go out there and compete. I’m thankful for the opportunity. Hopefully Jorge will be back soon, because he’s great for our team. Until he is, if they write my name down, I’ll play.”

Wallach was the Marlins’ Opening Day starting catcher last season with J.T. Realmuto starting 2018 on the disabled list, but he only played 15 games with the team. Bryan Holaday served as the Marlins primary backup catcher.

Wallach showed a spark of success in September when rosters expanded, including a three-hit, three-RBI performance in a win over the Cincinnati Reds and carried that success into spring training.

“I didn’t get off to a great start [in 2018], so I kind of kept pressing and pressing, and it just kind of got out of hand,” Wallach said. “The little bit of success I had at the end of last year really helped. I know I can compete at this level. It’s just kind of carried over to this year.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly added: “You can see it. As long as he stays more fluid and gets started on time, his at-bats have been good. He’s seeing the ball good.”

As for Alfaro, Mattingly said he is optimistic he will be back in the lineup on Tuesday but the team is going to be cautious with him, especially since he already suffered a pair of knee injuries during spring training.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.