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Pat Venditte

Marlins Roster Updates Amid COVID Outbreak

The Miami Marlins haven’t played since last Sunday. The game, which has become the source of national consternation, went on despite the beginnings of the COVID outbreak and ended with an 11-6 Marlins win. According to reports, both MLB and the Phillies were aware of the positive tests and still elected to play the game.

The story of the Marlins COVID outbreak is now subject to both an internal team investigation as well as one by MLB. While there’ve been some wildly irresponsible accusations and speculation by some members in the media, no evidence of wrongdoing has come to light.

Good News Amid the Marlins COVID outbreak

As of the latest round of testing, a 17th Marlins player saw a positive result. In good news, though, one of the two coaches who had previously tested positive has since tested negative.

Additional good news came out last night when OF Harold Ramirez, during an interview with Telemundo, revealed experiencing just light symptoms. Ramirez went on to say none of the other players were experiencing symptoms.

“Thank God I feel a little better,” Ramirez said. “I don’t have a cough anymore. And my body aches have gone away.”

The team remains sequestered in a pair of hotels in Philadelphia, and should Thursday’s tests come back with no additional positives, they could begin the process of arranging travel back to South Florida.

Miguel Rojas took to Twitter Thursday to thank Marlins fans and reassure them he’s looking forward to getting back on the field.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are facing a potential outbreak of their own. Reports today revealed Philadelphia’s series with the Blue Jays has been postponed following a pair of positive tests for the Phillies (a coach and a home clubhouse attendant).

Initial Roster Moves

All of this will eventually lead to several roster moves by the Marlins. As of Thursday afternoon, the team had only moved C Jorge Alfaro, 1B/RF Garrett Cooper, Ramirez and SP José Ureña to the 10-day Injured List. SS Miguel Rojas and SP Sandy Alcantara have also been reported as players who’ve tested positive.

On Monday, the team announced the addition of two pitchers via waivers, RHP Justin Shafer and LHP Josh D. Smith. Shafer is a South Florida native and Smith pitched for the Marlins in 2019.

Shafer made 40 relief appearances for the Blue Jays over the last two seasons. He sports a 3.75 ERA with 41 K and 32 BB over 41 IP. Smith pitched six games for Miami in 2019 and posted an 8.31 ERA. He surrendered four earned runs over 4.1 IP. The Marlins have another Josh Smith, Josh A. Smith, in the 60-man player pool as well.

Miami also signed minor league free agent outfielder Travis Snider, who last played in MLB in 2015. Over an eight-year career, Snider played 630 games and hit 54 home runs. His slash line in 2015, his last year in the Majors, is .232/.315/.350.

 

A day later, the Marlins announced they claimed RHP Mike Morin off waivers from Milwaukee. Over a six-year MLB career, the righty Morin has appeared for five different clubs, posting a 4.65 ERA.

Marlins Latest Roster Additions

A busy day unfolded for the team on Thursday as well. The Marlins have reportedly signed utility infielder Logan Forsythe, as well as a pair of former Marlins in C Wilkin Castillo and RP Pat Venditte.

Forsythe is a 9-year MLB vet who’s played for five different teams. His career slash line is .246/.327/.360. In 2019 with the Texas Rangers, Forsythe struggled, posting a .227/.325/.678 slash line with seven HR and 39 RBI. He has 42 career steals in 58 attempts.

Defensively, Forsythe provided positional flexibility. He’s made 643 appearances at second base, 143 at third, 75 at first and 36 at shortstop. He has 21 appearances in the outfield as well.

Two Former Marlins Return

Wilkin Castillo’s signing signals the return of a former Marlin. Castillo spent most of 2019 with the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate New Orleans, but he played two games for Miami. He went 1-for-7 with two RBI. His 6/22/19 start came nearly 10 years to the day (6/20/09) of his last MLB appearance.

Castillo’s primary position remains catcher, but he’s played every other position on the field during his career. He’s made five pitching appearances and has two career wins in the minors. He’s played at every position on the field as well. His addition provides depth at the position, considering prospect C Will Banfield remains on the IL.

For Venditte, his signing marks a return after parting ways with Miami earlier in the Spring. At 35-tears-old, Venditte remains one of the most unique players in MLB history. He’s a “switch pitcher,” meaning he has the ability to work off the mound with either arm, depending upon the handedness of the hitter.

Venditte’s career ERA sits at 5.03 over 68 innings pitched. He’s another MLB-experienced arm to add to a Marlins pitching staff that must have been decimated by the COVID outbreak.

These additions to the pitching staff could prove particularly valuable if and when the Marlins resume their season after the COVID outbreak is contained. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday afternoon that the MLB and MLBPA on an agreement to adjust the length of double-headers to seven innings apiece. Double-headers will likely be a regular feature in any version of the schedule when the Marlins resume play.

This potential change comes on the heels of a change to the MLB’s protocols. The change to the protocol involves the use of surgical masks while traveling and the addition of a protocol compliance officer.