Rehabbing Cooper expected to return soon
1B playing with Triple-A New Orleans as he recovers from torn wrist tendon
MIAMI -- For weeks, the Marlins have targeted Garrett Cooper to return before the All-Star Break. Now that July has arrived, it could be a matter of days before the 27-year-old is back in the big leagues.
Cooper was the Marlins' Opening Day starter in right field, but he was injured in the second game of the season. On March 30 against Cubs' right-hander Kyle Hendricks, Cooper was struck on his right wrist by a pitch.
Testing revealed a partial tear of the tendon sheath in his right wrist, and he has since been on the 60-day disabled list. Cooper had just nine plate appearances, and seven at-bats when he landed on the DL.
Currently on rehab assignment with Triple-A New Orleans, Cooper is seeing action in left and right field as well as first base.
"We want to see what Coop can do, that's for sure," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Sunday morning. "He's almost like our young pitchers, we want to see what they're able to do. I think Coop is another guy, we want to see what he's capable of doing. Once we get him back, we can move him from first to left to right."
Exactly how the playing time is figured out remains to be seen, but most likely it will be based on matchups and how the rest of the lineup is constructed that day.
The Marlins currently have Justin Bour at first base, Derek Dietrich in left field and Brian Anderson in right.
Bour and Dietrich are left-handed hitters, and Cooper hits right-handed. So he could be in left or at first against lefty pitchers.
At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Cooper is a presence and potential power threat.
"I think we see the swing as kind of a guy that is probably a lot more like a [Brian Anderson], who uses the whole field," Mattingly said. "A guy who is kind of a right-center [approach] as a right-handed hitter. A guy who has kind of hit first, and the power will be coming as it goes."
The Marlins acquired Cooper and left-hander Caleb Smith from the Yankees last November. In 2017, he appeared in 13 games and batted .326 with five doubles and a triple. At three Minor League levels a year ago, he posted an impressive slash line of .359/.423/.634 with 18 home runs and 84 RBIs.
In his first eight games at New Orleans this year, he's hitting .333/.400/.481 with a home run, double and five RBIs.
"Obviously, we haven't seen him enough here to see where the adjustments get made," Mattingly said. "But, he's a guy who has had a lot of success last year.
"When we look at the swing, it's a good swing, and a swing that should really be able to work all over the field. That type of swing usually hits good pitching."