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Marlins not ruling out Marte's return

@JoeFrisaro
October 2, 2020

The Marlins are holding out hope Starling Marte could be back in the starting lineup soon. Before Thursday's National League Wild Card Series Game 2 was postponed due to rain, Marte was not in the lineup against the Cubs.

The Marlins are holding out hope Starling Marte could be back in the starting lineup soon. Before Thursday's National League Wild Card Series Game 2 was postponed due to rain, Marte was not in the lineup against the Cubs.

Marte on Thursday morning saw a hand specialist in Chicago, who confirmed the Miami center fielder has a very small non-displaced fracture of his left fifth metacarpal.

Game Date Time TV
Gm 1 Sept. 30 MIA 5, CHC 1 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 2 MIA 2, CHC 0 Watch

Marte is being fitted for a protective brace on his pinkie finger, and he is receiving treatment to reduce the swelling. The Marlins haven’t ruled out Marte playing in some capacity the rest of this series.

Marte was struck by a 92.2 mph Dan Winkler sinker on his left hand in the ninth inning on Wednesday in Miami’s 5-1 victory.

“We’re looking at it as something there is a possibility of him getting back fairly quickly,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ll play that by ear. They’ll keep treating him today.”

The hope of getting the 31-year-old back, even in a matter of days, is a reason Marte is not being placed on the injured list. The Marlins have outfield depth with Magneuris Sierra, Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison on the roster. Second baseman Jon Berti also can play center field, if needed.

If the Marlins are able to close out the Cubs on Friday, there will be a few days for Marte to rest before the NL Division Series starts on Tuesday in Houston.

For Marte, getting hit by pitches is nothing new. He was plunked nine times during the regular season in 61 games, including exiting Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Yankees in New York after being struck on the brim of the helmet. He sustained a bruised left ear, due to the helmet dislodging, but experienced no concussion-like symptoms.

The Marlins acquired Marte from the D-backs at the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline. In 28 regular-season games with Miami, he was hit four times. Mattingly noted he was hit about three previous times on his left hand.

Opposing pitchers clearly have been working Marte inside, and Mattingly added that the veteran also tends to lead into pitches with his hands, which further exposes him to being hit more frequently.

“He is a guy they try to pitch in,” Mattingly said. “You can see that they try to get in there pretty good on him.

“In today’s game, a lot of guys kind of lead with their hands, and that’s a change we’ve seen over the last number of years. Guys with that little different style in how you approach the ball.”

A year ago, Marte was hit 16 times, and in his nine-year MLB career, he’s been struck 120 times in the regular season.

Mattingly added that in recent years, Marlins right-handed hitters Garrett Cooper and Brian Anderson also have exposed their hands and been hit.

“You hope to avoid what happened,” Mattingly said. “That style and that approach, with the lead, and how guys are doing it now puts them at a little bit of a risk.”

Another issue is pitchers are throwing harder.

“Guys are throwing hard,” Mattingly said. “It’s hard to get out of the way. You see a lot of run from those righties, who are trying to get velo, and the ball runs in there. That thing chases you. If your hands are in that position, it’s hard to get out of the way.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.