Marlins ready to head home; IL update; more

August 13th, 2020

What was initially intended to be a six-day, five-night road trip turned into a more than three-week affair, as the Marlins endured more than their share of adversity.

The trek that ended up lasting 23 days came to an end after Wednesday’s 14-11 win over the Blue Jays in 10 innings at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y.

Manager Don Mattingly was asked pregame on Wednesday about the life lessons learned on the trip.

“I hope we don’t learn too many more lessons on this trip,” Mattingly joked. “I’ve got enough lessons under my belt now.”

The trip started on July 21 with the first of two exhibition games against the Braves in Atlanta, and it was derailed by a coronavirus outbreak later in the week. In all, 18 players and two coaches tested positive for COVID-19.

Still, with a reshaped roster, the Marlins managed to get off to a fast start.

“We talked about this season, in general, before the season, that it was going to be different,” Mattingly said. “The team that could get past all of that stuff would have a better chance of surviving, knowing that you’re going to get tested, the protocols and everything else. When we talked about that, I had no visions of this type of trip.”

For the traveling party, returning to Miami will be refreshing.

“At home, at least you know you can step out on your porch and get some fresh air,” Mattingly said. “You don’t have to put a mask on. If you’ve got a backyard, you can get out without a mask.”

Injury list update
There remains no precise timetable for when many of the Marlins’ players will come off the injury list, but Mattingly noted that a good number of them are feeling much better.

Before being cleared to return to practice, players are going through the agreed upon health and safety protocols established by MLB and the MLB Players Association.

“I know guys are feeling good,” Mattingly said. “That’s the one thing that we do know -- that they’re asymptomatic. They’re feeling great. All these guys, they feel like they are ready to go. How long that process takes, I’m not sure.”

Once cleared to practice, the players will head to the alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla. From there, it will be a matter of time to get them up to speed.

“Our guys are feeling good, and they feel like they’re ready to go,” Mattingly said. “At least to get back to start doing something. We’ll see where that goes.”

Learning curve for Monte
Outfielder , who is off to a 2-for-18 (.111) start with 11 strikeouts to open his MLB career, wasn’t in Wednesday's lineup. , who got the nod in center field and batted ninth, hit the go-ahead two-run single in the 10th.

Like so many prospects, Harrison is witnessing the adjustment process to the big leagues.

“It’s just a different level here,” Mattingly said. “I think that’s the one thing you see with all kinds of prospects. It’s not just Monte or different guys that came up.”

Unlike the previous two years, when the Marlins didn’t hesitate allowing prospects to learn on the fly in the big leagues, there is less focus now on development in the big leagues during the 60-game season.

Prospects are still getting their work in at the alternate site.

“This is just a different league,” Mattingly said. “There’s a huge difference between like Triple-A and the big leagues. Once you get here, if you’ve got holes, and somebody finds them, they’re going to be pouring water into that hole until you close it up.”

Home opener ceremonies
At last, the Marlins are coming home. They will officially open their ninth season at Marlins Park on Friday against Atlanta.

The ceremonies will include the national anthem being sung by Miami native Joana Martinez, who gained fame on NBC’s “The Voice.”

Additionally, there will be a virtual first-pitch ceremony by South Florida frontline workers, in appreciation for all they do in the fight against COVID-19.

A moment of silence will also be held in tribute to former Marlins coach Tony Taylor, a member of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame and Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.

Additionally, a banner recognizing racial equality will be displayed in center field.

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