MIAMI -- On a young team still searching to create an identity, Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas has been a constant in terms of stability.
The 30-year-old Rojas has appeared in 76 games and is the most versatile player on the roster. Although he has solidified the starting shortstop spot, he’s also a plus defender at third base, second and first.
In the eyes of Marlins manager Don Mattingly, Rojas represents what the organization is trying to build. Plus, he has bought into Miami's process of building long term.
On a roster without a true All-Star candidate, Mattingly says Rojas would fit the mold to represent the organization at the Midsummer Classic on July 9 at Cleveland.
“I think Miggy best represents our club,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy who plays every day, battles every day. He can play all over the field. He really knows how to play.”
The Marlins, not surprisingly, didn't have any finalists in the fan voting. But all 30 MLB teams must have at least one representative. All-Star pitchers and reserves will be named on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN. The pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 24 for the National League and 23 for the American League -- will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.
Rojas’ statistics wouldn't necessarily jump out to a voter, as he entered Wednesday night hitting .279/.344/.341 with 21 RBIs. The intangibles he brings are the ability to hit at the top of the order or bottom, and he for the most part gives a quality at-bat.
Mattingly sees Rojas as All-Star worthy for the simple fact that he can be a utility pick, a player capable of playing all over the infield at a high level.
Another potential All-Star candidate, catcher Jorge Alfaro (concussion) is currently on the injured list. Third baseman Brian Anderson is another potential All-Star possibility.
But if the choice goes to someone who is a constant every single day, Rojas certainly fits the description.
“If you ask me to say who I’d say our guy is, if you are to say we have to take one, without dismissing anyone else, I think Miggy is a great representative for us,” Mattingly said.
Rest for Walker
Neil Walker returned from the 10-day injured list on Monday, after missing some time due to a right quad strain. But the veteran, who switch hits and plays first and third base, was out of the lineup on Wednesday, with left-hander Patrick Corbin pitching for the Nationals.
Walker is expected back on Thursday when Stephen Strasburg gets the nod for Washington.
“We were basically going to play him [Monday], give him a day [off], and get him back in there [Thursday],” Mattingly said. “Kind of keep working him in.”
Cesar Puello in center
Outfielder Cesar Puello was acquired last week from the Angels in a trade for cash considerations. On Wednesday, he started in center field.
“When we picked up Cesar, it was a situation where you want to get incrementally better all the time,” Mattingly said. “We felt like he was an opportunity to get better. We heard good things about his makeup and character. He controls the zone pretty good. He can play all three positions in the outfield.”