After a season that was plagued by a wrist injury last season, Marlins outfielder Garrett Cooper has shown he is fully healed and ready to enjoy a healthy 2019.
Oh how we all forget that Garrett Cooper was the starting right fielder for the Miami Marlins when they faced the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day last year. It’s an easy thing to do, given the outfielder was on the disabled list and in the minor leagues more than he was part of the parent club in 2018.
A wrist injury, the result of being plunked on the wrist by the Cubs Kyle Hendricks turned what many thought would be a promising season in 2018 into something Cooper and the Marlins might want to forget.
As the Grapefruit League winds down and manager Don Mattingly makes tough decisions about who stays on the 25-man roster and who will be optioned to the minors or released, Cooper continues to stake his claim to being a player the Marlins need either in the outfield or on the bench.
At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, it’s not hard to look at Garrett Cooper and wonder if he can be one of the missing pieces to the puzzle of finding power hitters on this roster. Peter O’Brien is expected to contribute. Lewis Brinson has shown plenty of pop in his bat in Spring Training. Brian Anderson is expected to improve on his numbers from a solid rookie season.
Cooper is the mystery the organization hopes can be solved all by himself.
"“It’s been a good spring,” said Cooper via sun-sentinel.com, who’s played in right field, left field and first base. “I’ve swung a lot better than I thought I would not really playing all of last year and not seeing live pitching for a while, but I’ve come back and I’ve hit a lot of balls hard this spring and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”"
The Marlins are currently the hottest team in the Majors in the Grapefruit League. While wins and losses before the regular season don’t mean a lot, it does show there is plenty of competition across the diamond and in the outfield. That’s a good thing and Cooper is part of the latest buzz created by this organization.
It also means Mattingly is taking more notice of how Garrett Cooper is improved over last season at this time.
This has been a growing experience for Cooper, who dealt with a season-long injury for the first time in his career. The time away from the game made have helped him prepare for this moment and this chance with the Marlins to make an impact on 2019.
"“I’ve never been injured more than a week or 10 days in my whole career playing baseball, so it took a lot of mental work to keep moving — do your rehab and move forward,” Cooper said. “It’s not like something you could’ve prevented… I’ve definitely gotten stronger mentally from an injury like that.”"