The Miami Marlins outfield situation got a bit more complicated on Tuesday with the return of Garrett Cooper, who was hit by a pitch in his first game back.
Is there any player in Major League Baseball with worse luck than Miami Marlins outfielder Garrett Cooper. After spending time on the IL with a calf injury he suffered in the second game of the season, you guessed it, the 28-year-old was plunked on the hand by a pitch on Tuesday night in his return to the lineup.
Tests were negative and nothing is broken, but another extended period out of the lineup does nothing to help Cooper or the team try and right the ship of an 8-21 record. As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, the Marlins are officially listing him as day-to-day in his return.
Cooper’s injury woes are just part of the process, with all due respect to the process of building this team into a winner. Just when it looks like things will move forward, the Marlins take two steps back. Cooper hopefully won’t be out of the lineup for long. But the issues in the outfield are even more magnified with this latest setback.
"“I’m all right,” Cooper said. “It’s swollen. Nothing was broken, according to the X-ray. That’s a good thing. It’s pretty swollen right now. We’ll take it day by day. The grip is a little tough right now to make a fist. Besides that, I’m happy there’s nothing broken.”"
Despite Curtis Granderson’s home run and proof that age is just a number in the loss to Cleveland last night, the Marlins need more production from its starters in the outfield. Combinations of players, finding the right balance and making lineup changes seemingly every day has manager Don Mattingly working overtime, seeking balance.
The Marlins sent centerfielder Lewis Brinson to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday in a corresponding move with Cooper’s addition to the 25-man roster. The idea according to the front office (Michael Hill) is that Brinson, who has been mired in a slump the first month of the season, will play in centerfield every day for the Baby Cakes and work on his fundamentals.
Brinson, per various reports, told the media following the news of his demotion, he plans to be back on the Major League level shortly.
The Marlins also have veteran Neil Walker on the bench because of a hamstring injury. Does this mean another move will be made to strengthen the roster? Does Austin Dean come back to Miami from New Orleans? Will the team purchase the contract of Harold Ramirez?
The hope is Cooper will be back in the lineup soon as his ability to play both corner outfield spots and first base makes him a valuable asset – if he can stay healthy.