Is J.T. Riddle the Marlins centerfielder of the future?

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: JT Riddle #10 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: JT Riddle #10 of the Miami Marlins celebrates with teammates after scoring in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Now that he has been recalled from Triple-A New Orleans, will a change of position be the key to success for centerfielder J.T. Riddle with the Marlins?

What will the Miami Marlins do with J.T. Riddle now that he has been promoted back to the Major League team after time with Triple-A New Orleans? As he came up through the team’s minor league system, the Kentucky native was an infielder.

Riddle, who replaces Neil Walker on the 25-man roster as the team announced the veteran has been placed on the 10-day IL, now has center fielder written all over him.

At least that is how the coaching staff sees it.

"“I envision him in center,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said."

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When Riddle was optioned to New Orleans, the idea was to get as many plate appearances as possible but to also have him spend time at shortstop and the outfield. Don Mattingly wants his players to have versatility, something that Riddle is learning. The experiment has paid off so far.

Since he is back in Miami (really San Diego on the team’s road trip) why couldn’t the 27-year-old become the everyday centerfielder? No one else has been able to take the position and hold onto it for any length of time.

Jon Berti is on the IL. Lewis Brinson couldn’t hit on the Major League level. Harold Ramirez has played there as well. Miami is unlikely to bring Monte Harrison up earlier than he is ready. Is this the opportunity that will pay off for the team and the player?

Riddle believes he is ready to take on his new role.

"“It’s been a little more relaxed, honestly,” Riddle said of playing center field. “At short, even if you don’t get a ball, you’re involved in the run game, you’re involved in everything. Moving from short to center field, it’s a little different. It’s a game of fetch. Ball goes up, you run it down.”"

If it was only that simple. The Marlins hope the transition goes that smoothly.

Walker suffered the injury on Thursday, per reports. An MRI on Friday confirmed the injury a strain but will take time to heal. Walker, 33, has a .295/.375/.443 slash line and four home runs in 51 games. He joined the Marlins as a free agent in January on a one-year, $2 million deal. He has proven to be a valuable asset in the field, at the plate, and in the clubhouse.

Next. Who will the Marlins pick in the MLB Draft?. dark

The Marlins fell to the San Diego Padres on Friday night, 5-2. Riddle was not in the lineup. When he will get the nod to test the centerfield waters isn’t known yet.

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