Marlins veteran Neil Walker nearing return to team

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 28: Neil Walker #18 of the Miami Marlins hits a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies during Opening Day at Marlins Park on March 28, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 28: Neil Walker #18 of the Miami Marlins hits a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies during Opening Day at Marlins Park on March 28, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins could have veteran Neil Walker back with the team after dealing with a quad injury that has hampered his play.

Not only did the Miami Marlins complete the sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend on the road, but the team also got the news that veteran Neil Walker is continuing to improve in a rehab assignment and is nearing his return to the parent club shortly.

"Per MLB.com, “Walker, who sustained a strained right quad on May 30, went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk on Saturday in the first game of his rehab assignment. He played seven innings at first base before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh.On Sunday, Walker went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and played another seven innings in the field, this time at third base.”"

Walker, who signed with the team this offseason, is spending time with the Class-A Advanced team in Jupiter, Florida. He has been an exclusive first baseman for the Marlins this year, but the versatile Walker can also play in the outfield and has spent time in his career at both third base and second base.

Finding a spot in the lineup for his bat may be an issue as Garrett Cooper has been filling in for Walker and is one of the hottest hitters currently on the team.

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Cooper, who has also spent time on the Marlins I.L. list this season, smacked his seventh home run of the season on Sunday in Miami’s 6-4 win over the Phillies.

"“I think it went good,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said of Saturday’s outing for Walker. “He’s playing again [Sunday], and after that, we’ll kind of evaluate. He’s a guy who’s not going to need a lot of at-bats, so we’ll kind of see where he’s at after [Sunday] and make a decision.”"

Walker signed a one-year deal this offseason and has been the subject of trade rumors when the organization reaches the July deadline. He could be a valuable asset to a contender looking for a bat off the bench or a designated hitter in the American League.

This season has also been one of redemption for Walker, who did not do well in 2018.

"Per Paul Casella, “Overall, Walker is hitting .295 with an .818 OPS in his first season with the Marlins. It’s been an encouraging bounce-back campaign for the 33-year-old infielder, who put up career lows with a .219 batting average and .664 OPS with the Yankees last season.”"

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