Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins’ once-promising outfield plagued by injuries, slumps

Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, mired in a 1-for-36 slump, was sent down to the minors Sunday.
Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, mired in a 1-for-36 slump, was sent down to the minors Sunday. Getty Images

In spring training, the Marlins had one of the most promising outfields in the game.

That seems like a long time ago.

Miami’s outfield has been disappointing this year as it has suffered of late from injuries (Giancarlo Stanton) as well as extended slumps (Marcell Ozuna and Ichiro Suzuki).

Stanton, who was one of Miami’s bright spots this season before getting hurt last month, will be out for another few weeks.

Ozuna, who is mired in a 1-for-36 slump, was sent down to the minors Sunday. Manager Dan Jennings hopes Ozuna’s stay at Triple A New Orleans isn’t a long one.

“It’s definitely been a season of changes, but that’s true for any of the other teams,” Jennings said.

“Marcell is an energy player with power and we love him, love what he brings. There’s some things he needs to iron out and that could be mental. He needs to feel good, feel like he can put up the numbers he did last year. I hope he gets it worked out in a short time.”

Miami is now forced to mix things up with Stanton and Ozuna out for the interim.

On Tuesday, Miami brought Mike Morse off the disabled list and started him in left field. Christian Yelich, who came in riding an eight-game hitting streak, slid over to replace Ozuna in center with Cole Gillespie in right.

Although Morse played strictly at first since signing with the Marlins, the Nova High grad has plenty (403 games) of outfield experience.

Morse, however, didn’t last long in left as he returned to first base in the second when Jeff Baker left with oblique pain.

Ichiro — who came into the game in a 0-for-25 slump — went to left field to replace Morse.

Miami also recalled Jordany Valdespin, who like Gillespie, was playing in New Orleans and can play multiple positions. Tuesday was the first game at Fenway for the 31-year-old.

“This is a great opportunity for myself and I feel comfortable playing all three outfield positions,” said Gillespie, who was recalled June 27.

“This ballpark has some funky angles so you have to walk around and check things out. But the more positions you can play, the more beneficial it is for the team.”

OLD SCHOOL

Fresh off a three game set at Wrigley Field (the second-oldest ballpark in the majors), many Marlins got their first look at baseball’s oldest cathedral on Tuesday.

Jennings said he had a “packed house” for Tuesday’s optional early hitting session at Fenway Park — which opened two years before Wrigley did.

Miami became just the third team to play consecutive series at Wrigley and Fenway and first since Milwaukee four years ago. The Marlins hadn’t played at Fenway since 2012.

“There’s a lot of history here,” Jennings said. “It’s a great city, a great ballpark. For us to be able to go back-to-back from Wrigley to Fenway is unique and an honor.”

▪ Martin Prado, on the DL with a right shoulder sprain, made a rehab start at single-A Jupiter on Tuesday. Jennings said he didn’t expect Prado to make it back before the All-Star break following Sunday’s game with Cincinnati.

▪ Former Florida Panthers forward Jimmy Hayes was part of the pregame ceremonies Tuesday. Hayes, a Boston native, was traded by the Panthers to the Bruins last week in exchange for Reilly Smith. Mo’ne Davis, the breakout star of last year’s Little League World Series, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

COMING UP

▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (7-4, 3.52 ERA) at Boston Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (4-9, 6.08), 7:10 p.m., Fenway Park.

▪ Thursday: Cincinnati Reds RHP Josh Smith (0-2, 7.30 ERA) at Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (1-0, 4.50), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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