Jon Berti recently began his minor league rehab assignment in Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday and is expected to take it all the way into the MLB All-Star Break next week. He played centerfield and drove in a run his first game since injuring his quad.
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday that he read the report on Berti and received a text from New Orleans manager Keith Johnson first thing in the morning, saying that he played seven innings without setback.
“He came out healthy and he looked pretty good,” Mattingly said.
Just a few hours later, Berti hit two solo home runs to power New Orleans past Memphis 6-3. In 15 total games in the minors, Berti is hitting .302 with a 1.078 OPS. Those stats can be taken with a grain of salt, considering most of the players who had success in the Pacific Coast League received the call up to the big leagues and were unable to replicate that success.
Once Berti returns, his role is still a mystery. He was used as a utility infielder who has seen time at centerfield and slashed .268/.362/.463 in his last 15 games prior to his injury.
“Bert was good while he was here,” Mattingly said, “and it was unfortunate that he got hurt but now he’s got go get ready to play again and then we make decisions. So he’s going to have to be productive in what he’s doing. Obviously he’s on the IL but there’s no guarantee that he just starts here again. There’s different things you can do. I’m saying that in a bad way. It’s just that there’s no true plan. If Bert’s doing what he was doing before, he was having good at-bats for us, he was a spark in our lineup, a guy that could steal a bag. He knows how to play. There’s a lot of things to like but he’s got to get back to where he’s rolling again and then we can make a decision.”
JT Riddle was called back up to the Marlins on May 31. Through the month of June, he has batted .215 with a .647 OPS. All four of his home runs came in the final 10 days of the month, which counted for half of his hits. There isn’t a need for the Marlins to carry both Riddle and Berti so if he were to continue rolling through rehab a big decision will have to be made after the All-Star Game.