Justin Bour is aiming to return to the Marlins’ lineup at some point during the current homestand.
“Hitting, I’m 100 percent; no problems there,” Bour said. “It’s just a matter of getting me where I need to be on defense and running.”
Bour went on the disabled list on July 6 with a high ankle sprain that he sustained when he stepped on first base awkwardly during a game in Atlanta on July 2.
Friday’s game was the 15th in a row for the Marlins without Bour, who has hit .268 with 15 home runs (two grand slams) and 46 RBI this year in 213 at-bats.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Bour will start a rehab assignment in the minors by early next week.
The Marlins did not take batting practice prior to Friday night’s game, but Bour did some conditioning drills, fielding ground balls, and appeared to look comfortable.
“He would have hit with us, but he was able to run and do agility workouts for the first time [Thursday],” Mattingly said. “I think hopefully for the next couple of days we’ll see him take [batting practice] and go out there and do some stuff. Then it’s just a matter of getting him some at-bats.”
Bour is hoping his stint in the minors won’t take more than one or two games, barring any setbacks.
“It felt good to do baseball stuff again,” Bour said. “I did therapy here every day during the All-Star break, and I’m ahead of schedule. I see myself playing before the end of the homestand.”
Chris Johnson made his 11th start at first base Friday since Bour went down, but he’s often started when the Marlins have faced a lefty this season. Johnson has hit .308 since the All-Star break and smacked a home run Wednesday against the Phillies.
Don Kelly started the other four games since Bour’s injury but has only one hit in 21 at-bats.
Three of the Marlins’ five wins since the All-Star break have been decided by a single run. Mattingly attributes the team’s recent success in close games to consistency from the bullpen.
During the Marlins’ seven-game trip, the bullpen gave up just nine hits and three earned runs over 19 1/3 innings, good for a 1.40 ERA. The group of seven relievers struck out 25 batters while allowing just four walks over that span.
One pitcher the Marlins would like to see keep up his momentum is Mike Dunn, the team’s lone lefty in the bullpen.
After missing the first two months while recovering from a left forearm strain, Dunn had a shaky start to his season, giving up five runs in 11 2/3 innings, blowing two saves and taking a loss.
But his past four appearances tell a different tale. Dating to the Marlins’ 7-3 victory over the Reds to close out the first half of the season, Dunn has given up just two hits — albeit one a home run against the Cardinals on July 16 — over five innings while striking out three and not surrendering a walk.
Dunn earned the victory against the Phillies on Tuesday night after throwing a perfect ninth inning.
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.53 ERA) vs. New York Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (6-4, 2.38), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (1-1, 7.52) vs. Mets LHP Steven Matz (7-6, 3.56), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.