When Yelich may be ready for promotion

MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich recently got a taste of playing in a big league ballpark when he took part in the Futures Game at Citi Field.

It is just a matter of time before the 21-year-old outfielder gets his first MLB chance with the Marlins. That opportunity likely will come before the end of the month.

Quite simply, it is a matter of Yelich heating up at the plate and showing he is ready.

Miami’s top prospect, Yelich had an RBI double and a single in his two at-bats on Sunday for the United States team in the Futures Game played at the home of the New York Mets.

Yelich continued to swing a hot bat on Thursday night, going 3-for-4 for Double-A Jacksonville.

Ranked as the 10th best prospect in the game by MLB.com, Yelich must show a level of consistency in the next week or two to earn his promotion.

Yelich is regarded as one of the smoothest hitting prospects in the game. But the left-handed hitting outfielder has dealt with injuries in April and June, which has factored into some inconsistent play. His three hits on Thursday raised his average to .268 with 13 doubles, six triples, six homers and 28 RBIs in 45 games for the Suns.

Clearly, the Marlins will use the second half to further develop and evaluate their young talent. But they also have plenty of outfield depth, and are in no need of rushing their top prospect.

Barring injury, it is highly likely Yelich will join the Marlins in either late July or early August, at the latest.

Still, additional at-bats at Double-A will not hurt. He’s had a total of 222 this year, counting rehab assignment stints.

Yelich has been playing center field and left field at Jacksonville. With the Marlins, he likely will start off in center, with Marcell Ozuna moving to left field.

That decision will be more fully addressed when Yelich does arrive.

While Yelich is closing in on being big league ready, the Marlins appear willing to give Jake Marisnick more time in Jacksonville. Marisnick, 22, is the projected center fielder of the future, but the team wants to make sure he is completely ready offensively.

Marisnick is enjoying a strong season at Jacksonville, batting .291 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs.

With Marisnick, however, the team is paying attention to his mechanics more than his actual numbers. There are some areas of his swing the organization first would like to see ironed out.

The speedster still could use another half season of Minor League ball to be better prepared.

Without question, the Marlins have rushed players to the big leagues in the past. Often, it is out of necessity. But with plenty of outfield depth, there is no need to push Marisnick right now. The same is true for Yelich.

Marlins not likely to sign Gonzalez: Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is gaining plenty of attention, and reportedly, the right-hander could sign next week. While the Marlins have been linked to Gonzalez, don’t expect the club to be in the mix when a final decision is made.

Gonzalez, cleared earlier this week to sign with MLB teams, reportedly could get a deal of around $60 million for five years.

The Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees and Twins have been mentioned as possible landing spots for the right-hander.

Joe Frisaro

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