Martin Prado began his rehab assignment in Jupiter on Wednesday and went 1-3 while playing first base without issue. It’s likely that Prado will return soon and assume his place in the Marlins active roster as a reserve corner infield with veteran presence.
He’s batting .239 in 155 at-bats but is entering the final year of his three-year contract and is one of the leaders of the team. He’s clearly coming back and Yadiel Rivera is most likely the one to go back to Triple-A New Orleans. Rivera is batting .267 with a .353 on-base percentage in his last 15 at-bats but is hitting .184 overall in a utility role.
Prado is not the only one soon coming off the injured list. Relief pitcher Tayron Gurerrero is also in Jupiter for his rehab assignment. The Marlins called up Jeff Brigham in his place at the time of the injury. Brigham is now in New Orleans as well so either Jose Quijada (2.16 WHIP) or one of the three starting pitchers that were called up to fill holes in the rotation caused by injury.
Elieser Hernandez pitched in Caleb Smith’s place and has gone 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Smith has returned and Hernandez has experience in the bullpen in case he moves over with Gurerrero if he doesn’t go back to Triple-A New Orleans to continue starting.
“It could be either way,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said on June 30. “It’s been something that we talked about and it’s probably going to go back to what’s best for each guy and what’s best for the organization. Is it best for him to be in the bullpen not pitching very often or is it best for him to get the ball every five days and continue to grow? So that’s going to be the question that we talk about within the organization, development and what’s best for that individual’s development.”
Jon Berti was also in the middle of rehab assignment in New Orleans since June 29. He played full-time in the Baby Cakes four-game series going 6-for-15 with a pair of home runs before straining his hamstring and having to halt his rehab.
Catcher Chad Wallach is close to returning from his concussion but lead the Marlins into a roster quagmire with Bryan Holaday . The competition in spring training came a tie in which the tiebreaker went to the player already on the 40-man roster. But now both are on roster but both can not be there together so long as Jorge Alfaro is healthy. Carrying three catchers usually doesn’t make sense when there’s plenty of need everywhere else on the roster.
Before the injury, Wallach was batting .250 with a .708 OPS and a home run in 48 at-bats. Holaday, with three less at-bats, is slashing .311/.404/.489 with two home runs. This might be one where it makes the most sense for the Marlins to leave Wallach in New Orleans after he is cleared to return.
The rest of July will be a period of roster juggling between players returning from injury and possible trades. Every veteran on the team will be on the trade block, even if the return may not be much.