Miami Marlins

Dietrich returns to childhood field of dreams in Cleveland

Derek Dietrich, who has been out with a bruised right knee, is looking forward to not only getting back on the field, but returning to the very field where he grew up watching the Indians.
Derek Dietrich, who has been out with a bruised right knee, is looking forward to not only getting back on the field, but returning to the very field where he grew up watching the Indians. TNS

Derek Dietrich pulled for the Indians when they faced the Marlins in the 1997 World Series and was saddened the outcome didn’t turn out to his liking.

“It was a tough loss to swallow,” Dietrich said.

When he comes off the disabled list on Saturday, he’ll be on the other side of the fence, trying to help the Marlins reach the postseason.

Dietrich, who has been out with a bruised right knee, is looking forward to not only getting back on the field, but returning to the very field where he grew up watching the Indians.

“I used to play here at least once a year with my high school, St. Ignatius,” Dietrich said. “But this will be my first time as a professional, and I’ve been waiting for a long time. I’m very happy I made it back [from the DL] in time.”

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Dietrich said at least 60 members of the St. Ignatius baseball program are expected to show up Saturday to see him play.

“I think for any player to be able to play in their hometown, as close as it is for me — I’m only about 10 or 12 minutes away from here — yeah, I’m very happy to be back and play in Cleveland,” he said.

Dietrich could see action at first base, second base and the outfield after his return. He could also be used as the Marlins’ designated hitter in the series against the Indians, who play in the American League.

OZUNA STILL AILING

Outfielder Marcell Ozuna is continuing to deal with a sore left wrist he sprained while diving for a ball in New York on Wednesday night. Ozuna missed Thursday night’s game and said it’s unlikely he’ll play in the Cleveland series this weekend.

“It’s still a little sore, but it’s going to be fine,” said Ozuna, who expects to be back during the upcoming homestand.

With Ozuna sidelined, manager Don Mattingly moved Christian Yelich to center field for the second consecutive game and gave Destin Hood the start in left. It was Hood’s major-league debut.

▪ As they prepared to face the Indians, the Marlins had played in 24 consecutive games decided by three runs or less. That’s tied for the second-longest stretch of close games in major-league history.

The major-league record is 26 games in a row by the 1973 Montreal Expos.

The Marlins last played a game decided by four runs or more on Aug. 6, when they lost a 12-6 decision to the Colorado Rockies.

The streak almost ended Thursday when the Marlins took a 6-2 lead into the ninth at Citi Field. But the Mets came up with two runs in the ninth to make the final outcome 6-4.

▪ Yelich has been on a tear ever since moving into the cleanup spot on Tuesday.

He homered in all three games from the No. 4 spot entering Friday, and all three of his shots went to the opposite field.

On Thursday, he became the second player in Marlins history with at least three hits, two runs, a home run, four RBI and two stolen bases. The other player to accomplish the feat: Gary Sheffield in 1995.

COMING UP

▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (13-7, 2.79 ERA) at Cleveland Indians RHP Trevor Bauer (9-6, 3.73), 7:10 p.m., Progressive Field.

▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-10, 4.02) at Indians RHP Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.88), 4:10 p.m., Progressive Field.

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