It seems like it won’t be long until Miami Marlins right fielder Garrett Cooper returns from the 10-Day IL.
Cooper was involved with team stretching drills and participated in batting practice on Friday before the Marlins weekend series opener against the Washington Nationals.
“He’s progressing along, that’s for sure,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He was doing some outfield drills today. He’s already been taking ground balls and hitting. He’s doing running progression and will do curves either today or tomorrow.”
Mattingly also said that he that Cooper will begin his rehab assignment in Jupiter on Sunday.
“He’s going to be going to Jupiter as we leave here after the weekend and that progression will continue into at-bats,” Mattingly said.
The Marlins hit the road next week to Cleveland then Philadelphia. The Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins’ Single-A Advanced affiliate, begin their 10-game homestand on Monday. The Hammerheads play in the Marlins Spring Training complex, where Cooper batted 395/.438/.488 in 48 plate appearances en route to earning the starting right field job at Opening Day. He went hitless in the first two games of the season before the injury.
Since his absence Peter O’Brien, Austin Dean, Isaac Galloway and Rosell Herrera all got starts in the outfield. O’Brien was sent down after batting .111 with a home run and two RBIs in nine games for Dean, who was also sent down on Saturday for infielder Jon Berti.
Dean jumped out of the gates with a home run and five RBIs against the Philadelphia Phillies a week ago. Going 1-for-16 with poor defense in the next four games led to the hook.
“As much as anything, it was defensive. He gave us offense that first day. After, it was a lot of chase; I think 1-for-16,” Mattingly said. “With this outfield, we’ve got to be able to defend better with our pitching. We cannot afford to give up extra runs, extra outs”
Jon Berti is a versatile infielder that allows Brian Anderson to switch from third base to right field and back whenever necessary. He also opened the minor league season by reaching base in each of his 13 games.
The Marlins also fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo. Jeff Livesey has been promoted to interim head hitting coach. Eric Duncan will join the staff as assistant hitting coach.