LOS ANGELES — Marlins infielder Chris Valaika, who fractured his left wrist on Tuesday at San Diego, underwent successful surgery on Friday at the University of Miami Hospital
Valaika suffered a break to the tip of his radius bone in the eighth inning on Tuesday. He returned to Miami, where it was determined he needed surgery. Dr. Patrick Owens performed the procedure, inserting two pins in his wrist.
There is a chance Valaika could be done for the season. He will need four to six weeks to recover from the surgery, and about that time additionally to build back up.
Also on Friday, manager Mike Redmond announced Tom Koehler will be replacing Wade LeBlanc in the rotation.
Koehler, who had been in the bullpen, will make his first start of the season on Sunday in the series finale at Los Angeles. LeBlanc joins the bullpen, where he provides a second lefty.
Alex Sanabia, who exited Tuesday’s game at San Diego in the fifth inning wit a tight right groin, will be pushed back one day. With the team off on Monday, Ricky Nolasco will start on Tuesday at Marlins Park against the Reds. Sanabia will go on Wednesday.
Jeff Mathis, on rehab assignment with Double-A Jacksonville, could join the Marlins as early as Tuesday in Miami. The veteran catcher broke his right collarbone on Feb. 23, in Miami’s first Grapefruit League game.
Logan Morrison, being used as a designated hitter in extended spring games, went 2-for-3 with a home run, single and walk on Friday in Jupiter.
— Joe Frisaro
LOS ANGELES — In his last start, Jose Fernandez gave a glimpse of what the future may look like.
The 20-year-old sensation struck out nine and allowed one hit over seven shutout innings while collecting his first big league win. The impressive outing last Sunday against the Phillies was a reminder of why Fernandez is so highly regarded.
In six big league starts, Fernandez has 32 strikeouts in 31 innings.
On Friday night, the rookie takes the mound in the series opener at the Dodgers.
The Marlins are looking to get back on the winning track after they were swept in three games at San Diego. Los Angeles has dropped seven straight. The Dodgers are starting Matt Magill.
1) Pierre LF
2) Hechavarria SS
3) Polanco 3B
4) Ruggiano CF
5) Dobbs 1B
6) Ozuna RF
7) Dietrich 2B
8) Brantly C
9) Fernandez P
— Joe Frisaro
Due to injury, the 23-year-old second base prospect had to make a trip from Jacksonville to San Diego on short notice. The flight was worth it because he was in the starting lineup on Wednesday, and he promises to remain there, at least until Donovan Solano returns from the disabled list.
In Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to the Padres at Petco Park, Dietrich singled in his first big league at-bat, a line drive to right field off Jason Marquis.
He also was immediately tested at second base. San Diego’s leadoff batter, Everth Cabrera, scorched a liner right at Dietrich, who handled the hot shot, to open the bottom of the first inning.
“That helped, actually,” Dietrich said. “Getting that first line drive, making the play. I couldn’t have drawn it up any better to get things rolling.”
The single to open the third inning also got his first hit out of the way.
“That’s kind of how you dream about it, getting it going right off the bat there,” he said. “Just going in, I felt great, I felt comfortable right from the get-go. No nerves. I was pretty surprised. It felt like just another day playing baseball, but on a bigger stage, and a great group of guys.”
The Marlins lost the game but they began the process of grooming one of their top young talents. Dietrich is Miami’s No. 8-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.
Acquired from the Rays in December for Yunel Escobar, the plan initially was to give him about a half a season at Double-A Jacksonville. That changed late Tuesday night when Chris Valaika fractured his left wrist.
Valaika will need four to six weeks for the bone to properly heal. So he could be out two or more months.
After Valaika’s injury, Dietrich received a call about 2 a.m. ET to head to the West Coast. At 6 a.m., he was on a plane headed for Atlanta to make his connection to San Diego.
With the Suns, he was mostly being used at second base, but he did play about five games at third. The Marlins will have some tough decisions to make when Solano returns from his left intercostal strain.
“Actually, the last five games I’ve played [at Jacksonville] were at third base,” Dietrich said. “But I’ve played mostly second base until recently. I feel great out there at both positions. I just want to get in the lineup, and hit. and help the team defensively however I can help the team.”
Dietrich comes from a baseball family. His grandfather is former big leaguer, Steve Demeter, who also coached and managed in the Minor Leagues.
His grandfather was Dietrich’s baseball mentor.In early February, Demeter passed away.
During Wednesday’s game, on the scoreboard in San Diego, they noted a couple of facts about Dietrich, who possesses the skill of juggling multiple baseballs at one time.
“One time they mentioned juggling, which was pretty cool,” Dietrich said. “The other time they said, ‘He is the grandson of former Major Leaguer, Steve Demeter.’ ”
A few years ago, when Dietrich was a sophomore at Georgia Tech, he had a tattoo made on his left wrist that reads, “Let it fly,” advice he often received from his grandfather.
After Demeter passed away just prior to Spring Training, Dietrich updated the tattoo to include the dates of his grandfather’s birth and death.
“I think about him every time I step on the field,” Dietrich said.
— Joe Frisaro
SAN DIEGO — On Wednesday, it was Derek Dietrich’s turn to get the call. But down at Double-A Jacksonville, Christian Yelich is starting to make his case.
Injuries to Donovan Solano (left intercostal strain) and Chris Valaika (broken left wrist) prompted the Marlins to push forward the development of Dietrich, who is getting the chance to start at second base.
Dietrich now joins right fielder Marcell Ozuna and right-hander Jose Fernandez on the big league fast track. In Spring Training, all three were projected to be with Jacksonville at least until June. But injuries changed those plans.
It is only a matter of time before it’s Yelich’s turn. The 21-year-old outfielder opened the season on the disabled list with a foot injury. After a slugging start, he is tearing up Double-A.
After going 2-for-4 with a home run in a win on Wednesday, Yelich has raised his batting average to .343. On Tuesday night, he had five hits, including two triples and a homer.
“Obviously, we like those guys a lot and they’re going to be a part of the future,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “As to when they arrive, I’m not sure.”
Yelich, ranked 13th overall on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect List, now has 67 at-bats at Double-A. The organization is in a transition year, and ideally would rather have their top prospects get more seasoning. But it’s been tough with all the injuries that have occurred at the big league level.
If the Marlins wait until June, they can hold off starting Yelich’s big league service time clock. And more Minor League at-bats certainly are beneficial to all young players.
Yelich is a natural hitter, who pretty much was big league ready in Spring Training. So for now, the team is letting him refine his game at Jacksonville.
Yelich started in center field on Wednesday, and he also can play left field.
Could he get a promotion before June?
“It depends probably on the health of our outfield and how those guys stay together,” Redmond said. “If another guy goes down, you see how it’s going. We’re running out of bodies. These guys would be next in line. He’s doing well. He’s going to be here. It’s just a matter of when.
“The young guys are coming. In Spring Training none of us anticipated this, but at the same time here we are. The young guys are coming. We’ll make that decision as an organization when we feel it’s the right timing. I’m not sure when that’s going to be.”
– Joe Frisaro
SAN DIEGO — Henderson Alvarez’s pitching debut with the Marlins will now come sometime after the All-Star Break, at the earliest.
The Marlins on Tuesday morning announced Alvarez is being transferred to the 60-day disabled list. The transaction was the corresponding move to the club placing second baseman Donovan Solano on the 15-day disabled list with a left intercostal strain. Nick Green had his contract selected from Triple-A New Orleans.
Miami needed to create 40-man roster space. The team did so by transferring Alvarez to the 60-day DL.
Alvarez opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. His recovery had a setback recently, and on Monday, he began playing light catch.
The Marlins acquired Alvarez from the Blue Jays last November.
— Joe Frisaro
SAN DIEGO — Justin Ruggiano took a couple for the team on Sunday, and the center fielder also delivered a couple of shots of his own.
In Miami’s 14-2 rout of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Ruggiano earned an interesting distinction. He is just the eighth player since the early 1900s to get hit twice by pitches and also hit two home runs in the same game.
The last to do so is Ruggiano’s former Tampa Bay teammate, Jonny Gomes in 2010.
Ruggiano joins some exclusive company.
HIT BY PITCH TWICE & HOMER TWICE
Brian Downing 7/28/88
Jonny Gomes 6/12/10
Harmon Killebrew 5/2/59
Justin Ruggiano 5/5/13
Al Smith 6/21/61
Barry Bonds 5/21/91
Don Buford 5/31/71
Carlton Fisk 7/5/84
— Joe Frisaro
PHILADELPHIA — Marcell Ozuna’s first impression has certainly been a good one.
The 22-year-old right fielder has provided an immediate boost to the Marlins.
Since being called up from Double A Jacksonville on April 30, Ozuna has hit safely in his first six big league games.
He also enjoyed his first four-hit game, which came on Sunday at Philadelphia.
It was a special weekend for Ozuna because his father, sister and nephew traveled from their home in the Dominican Republic to Philadelphia to see the games.
“I’m proud of that,” Ozuna said. “When I was a kid, I was thinking I would be in the big leagues. I was thinking I was going to be like Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz. My dad said, ‘Those guys are superstars. If you are going to be like them, you need to work hard all the time, and keep your head right every time.’ ”
The longest hit streak to begin a career with the Marlins is eight games, set by Alejandro De Aza.
Ozuna’s 11 hits over his first six games are teh most ever by a Marlins rookie over that span. Ryan Jackson had nine in 1998. Mike Redmond and four others had eight.
Ozuna is playing right field because Giancarlo Stanton is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
“He’s come in here and he hasn’t been intimidated,” center fielder Justin Ruggiano said. “He’s having fun, and I don’t think he’s worried about what’s going to happen next. Every at-bat he’s giving a great at-bat. He’s doing a great job. He’s playing good defense. Good chemistry. He fits right in.”
Longest hit streaks to begin a career with the Marlins
Alejandro De Aza 8 (April 2-10, 2007)
Marcell Ozuna 6 (April 30-current)
Scott Pose 6 (April 5-11, 1993)
Kevin Millar 5 (April 11-May 24, 1999)
Ryan Jackson 5 (March 31-April 5, 1998)
Mark Kotsay 5 (July 11-July 16, 1997)
Marlins Rookies, Fewest Career Games Played at First Career 4-Hit Game – All-Time
Hanley Ramirez 4
Marcell Ozuna 6
Miguel Cabrera 11
Edgar Renteria 20
Cameron Maybin 26
Craig Counsell 28
— Joe Frisaro
PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Skipworth was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday to fill in a few days for Austin Kearns, who has been placed on the Bereavement List.
Kearns is tending to a family matter, and by rule, will miss between three and seven games.
Skipworth offers catching depth.
Rob Brantly, the primary catcher, is being given Sunday off because of a cut to his right index finger. Brantly sliced his finger a few days ago, and he sat out a couple of games, but played on Friday.
Also on Sunday, utility infielder Nick Green cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans.
The Marlins also are resting Donovan Solano, who tweaked his left oblique and was scratched from the lineup on Saturday night.
Solano said he is still sore, but he was testing his side on Sunday. The Marlins are hopeful they can avoid a disabled list stint for Solano. The team is in a 40-man roster bind. In case of an emergency, Solano could play the field on Sunday.
If Solano does go on the DL, Green is a candidate to get called up. Another option would be Double-A Jacksonville second baseman Derek Dietrich. Both Green and Dietrich are not on the 40-man roster.
In other injury news, Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to resume his throwing program on Monday. He recently had a setback, and is not expected to be ready any time soon.
Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) is throwing off the mound. Because he is on the 60-day disabled list, he won’t be ready until mid-June, at the earliest.
Catcher Jeff Mathis (broken right collarbone) is getting a day off in his rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter. The veteran catcher started two games behind the plate before being used as a designated hitter.
Manager Mike Redmond on Sunday is celebrating his 42nd birthday.
— Joe Frisaro
PHILADELPHIA — Initially, the Marlins were planning on using an entirely right-handed hitting lineup against Phillies southpaw Cole Hamels.
But about an hour before Saturday night’s game those plans were changed.
Donovan Solano, initially slotted to lead off, was scratched due to tightness in his left side. That caused manager Mike Redmond to reshuffle his batting order.
The Marlins are starting rookie Jose Fernandez, who still is seeking his first big league win.
1) Valaika, 2B
2) Polanco, 3B
3) Ruggiano, CF
4) Diaz, LF
5) Ozuna, RF
6) Dobbs, 1B
7) Olivo, C
8) Hechavarria, SS
9) Fernandez, P
— Joe Frisaro
PHILADELPHIA — Juan Pierre reached a milestone on Thursday night. On Friday, the veteran left fielder will be looking to do his part in helping the Marlins snap a two-game slide.
In Thursday’s 7-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Pierre swiped third base in the first inning. It was career stolen base No. 600 for Pierre.
The 35-year-old is just the 14th player in MLB history to reach 600 stolen bases. He’s also on another exclusive list. He is one of 12 players ever to have at least 2,000 hits and 600 bases.
600 stolen bases; 2000 hits
1) Ricky Henderson 1,406, 3,055
2) Lou Brock 938, 3,023
3) Ty Cobb 892, 4,191
4) Tim Raines 808, 2,605
5) Eddie Collins 744, 3,314
6) Max Carey 738, 2,665
7) Joe Morgan 689, 2,517
8) Willie Wilson 668, 2,207
9) Bert Campaneris 649, 2,249
10) Honus Wagner 639, 2,970
11) Kenny Lofton 622, 2,428
12) Juan Pierre 600, 2,163
1) Pierre, LF
2) Solano, 2B
3) Polanco, 3B
4) Dobbs, 1B
5) Ruggiano, CF
6) Ozuna, RF
7) Brantly, C
8) Hechavarria, SS
9) Nolasco, P
— Joe Frisaro