Christian Yelich hasn’t played in a major league game since April 19, but today the Miami Marlins’ left fielder began his rehab assignment with the Class-A Jupiter Hammerheads.
According to Christina De Nicola of Fox Sports Florida, Yelich is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday for the first game of the Marlins’ four-game series in San Francisco.
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On April 24, Yelich was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, with a lower-back strain. In 11 games this season, the 23-year-old is hitting .200/.265/.222 with a double and 13 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances. He struggled horrendously the last series in which he played, the four-game sweep at the hands of the New York Mets. In those four games Yelich went 2-for-18 with eight strikeouts.
Of course during that time, virtually everyone on the Marlins not named Dee Gordon was having trouble at the plate. Most of the lineup has bounced back since, and that’s a big reason why the Marlins have climbed all the way back to .500 at 12-12, after hitting rock-bottom with a 3-11 record two weeks into the season.
Today Yelich batted second for the Hammerheads against the Palm Beach Cardinals. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He is scheduled to play again for Jupiter on Monday and Tuesday before joining the Marlins for their trip out west.
"“I feel fine,” Yelich said. “No, I feel fine. It’s all good. All good.”"
Yelich is a career .280/.360/.391 hitter in about a season-and-a-half of big league service time. He will be fine. During his DL stint, Ichiro Suzuki has filled in nicely in left field. Today, Mike Redmond has Ichiro leading off in the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies. Ichiro has gone 9-for-34 in the last 10 games (all starts) and is hitting .266/.314/.344 on the season.
Even though the Marlins are playing well, there’s no doubt they look forward to having their number one left fielder back. It will be interesting, however, to see where Redmond slots him in the lineup immediately upon his return. Yelich has batted second most of the year behind Gordon, but in his absence Martin Prado has shined out of the two-hole. Prado blasted a three-run homer in Saturday’s 7-0 win over the Phillies.
Wherever Yelich hits, and assuming he is back at full strength, the Marlins’ lineup will look better than it does now.
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