Anderson homers in first AB off injured list

May 5th, 2021

MIAMI -- Marlins third baseman went deep in his first at-bat off the injured list in Tuesday night's 9-3 win over the D-backs at loanDepot park. He deposited a 3-1 sinker from Riley Smith over the right-field fence for a three-run homer in the first inning.

"Coming back like that is huge for us to get us out of the gate," manager Don Mattingly said. "... I thought it was huge, especially after the way we've been struggling with the bats. And tonight I thought [we took] the best at-bats we've had in a while, as far as just hitting balls directly on the nose, even the ones that were outs."

Anderson, who went on the IL with a left oblique strain when the club began a 10-game road trip on April 22 in San Francisco, began feeling the discomfort two days prior. He noted postgame it wasn't anything major to hinder his swing, and that the club was being cautious. Before the stint, Anderson was slashing .200/.262/.300 with one homer and a .562 OPS in 16 games. The 27-year-old was encountering a bit of bad luck, with a BABIP of .250.

"It seems like it's been unlucky out there in right, right-center, so kind of seeing one just not get caught, let alone go over the fence, was good for me," Anderson said. "Hopefully it'll get my confidence up a little bit [and] I can just keep it rolling from there."

Miami optioned No. 14 prospect Monte Harrison to Triple-A Jacksonville as the corresponding roster move. The club also selected the contract of right-hander Anthony Bender after placing rookie pitcher Paul Campbell on the restricted list (80-game suspension for testing positive for DHCMT). Harrison, who was recalled on Friday, went 1-for-5 in three games. The Marlins already had five outfielders on the active roster in Corey Dickerson, Adam Duvall, Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra and Garrett Cooper. Miami elected to keep infielder José Devers (No. 8 prospect) on the roster as a backup. Jon Berti, the club's super-utility player, started all 11 games at the hot corner in Anderson's absence.

The Marlins signed Bender to a Minor League contract last November after he posted a 5.48 ERA in 22 outings for the Milwaukee Milkmen of the independent American Association of Professional Baseball. The 26-year-old has yet to make his MLB debut, previously playing for the Royals' and Brewers' farm systems. In Spring Training, he pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts and velocity in the high 90s.

Additional injury updates
• Infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (left hamstring strain) will be evaluated on Tuesday with the anticipation of beginning a running program and some light baseball activity this week.

"I'm encouraged [by] the way Jazz is feeling," Mattingly said. "I know he's feeling good. And now we just kind of follow medical [advice] and how they get him ready and where they feel confident that he's ready to play again."

• Center fielder Starling Marte (left rib fracture) is increasing his rotational work, but he has not begun baseball activity.

• Right-hander Elieser Hernandez (right biceps inflammation) threw a 30-pitch bullpen on Tuesday. He is scheduled for live BP on Saturday.

"Excited about where Elieser's at and how he's feeling," Mattingly said. "We're getting to this step, so that means we haven't had any setbacks in any way. So now it's just a matter of building him and getting his pitch count built up where he can make a start in the Major Leagues. Not a 50-pitch start. We've got to get him built up, and that's the thing with starters -- it takes time. So we're still a little ways away from that. But I think we're on a good path. He's thrown I think two or three bullpens, now live BP's the next step, and then he'll continue to build from there. Very encouraged by what's going on with Elieser."

• Catcher Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring strain) is progressing with some agility work and catching drills.

Top prospect Sixto Sánchez (right shoulder inflammation) is throwing at 105 feet. His next progression will be 120 feet.

No. 29 prospect Jorge Guzman (right elbow inflammation) is also throwing at 105 feet.

No. 4 prospect Edward Cabrera (inflamed nerve in his right biceps) threw a 20-pitch bullpen on Monday, and he is scheduled for another on Friday.

The plan on the mound
The Marlins will play six straight games on their homestand, meaning they will need to return to a five-man rotation of sorts. Campbell's turn comes up on Thursday, and another open spot is on Saturday. Pablo López was originally slated to start on Wednesday, but that is no longer set in stone.

"We'll have a bullpen day in here," Mattingly said. "There'll be a bullpen day that we'll be going with either [Wednesday] or the next day. And that's one of the things that we're talking through. Do we want to get Pablo the extra day as kind of part of the long-range plan of getting these guys extra days anywhere we can? We haven't had a chance to talk to [general manager Kim Ng] today about any of that. But definitely over the next couple of days it'll be a bullpen day."