MIAMI -- The Marlins weren't as short on the bench Saturday as they previously feared. Garrett Cooper, whose status was in question before the game, pinch-hit and grounded into an inning-ending forceout in Miami's 10-6 loss to the Cubs in 10 innings at Marlins Park.Having Cooper available was a huge
MIAMI -- The Marlins weren't as short on the bench Saturday as they previously feared. Garrett Cooper, whose status was in question before the game, pinch-hit and grounded into an inning-ending forceout in Miami's 10-6 loss to the Cubs in 10 innings at Marlins Park.
Having Cooper available was a huge relief for the Marlins, considering he was struck by a pitch on his right wrist and removed from the game the night before.
"I could have used him and put him in the game if it were an emergency," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "They wanted to try to stay away from him in the field. They felt like he could hit. He should be good to go tomorrow."
The Marlins and Cubs concluded their four-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, and Cooper could be back starting in right field.
Cooper said on Saturday afternoon that he was feeling better, and he later tested the wrist by taking some swings in the cages.
Since there wasn't any fracture or more serious swelling, Cooper was able to avoid the disabled list.
The Marlins saved Cooper for a chance where he could drive in a run. The Marlins tied Saturday's game at 6 in the eighth inning on John Holaday's two-out, RBI single off Pedro Strop.
Cooper had runners on the corners with two outs and grounded to second, with Javier Baez getting the forceout.
After Cooper started in right field the first two games, Cameron Maybin made the start in right field on Saturday.
Cooper was hit on the wrist by a Kyle Hendricks slider in the fourth inning on Friday and was replaced by Maybin.
Cooper is a right-handed power threat who can play each corner-outfield spot as well as first base.
When Cooper is healthy, Maybin projects as a backup to all three outfield spots.
As the season progresses, rookie center fielder Lewis Brinson will get some days off, and when Justin Bour isn't playing first base, Cooper is a candidate to play first. So Maybin will be moving all over the field.
"Cam, we can do anything with," Mattingly said of Maybin. "We can put him in center, right and left. He could be a guy who pinch-runs, pinch-hits. As a bench guy in this league, he's pretty much in there every day."
Another multi-inning reliever candidate is Junichi Tazawa, the 31-year-old who had seven outings longer than one inning in 2017. Tazawa threw two innings on Opening Day, and with the bullpen being taxed after throwing 11 2/3 innings of scoreless relief on Friday, he could be asked to eat multiple innings again soon.
"We're thinking about it," Mattingly said of the 31-year-old going more than one inning. "If you get past two with him, I think you're stretching him. Depending on his pitch count. He's not usually one of those guys who gets out of an inning in eight or 10 [pitches]. It's usually he's using his mix. He has to add and subtract. So he's using that 16, 17 [pitches] to get through an inning. So if he throws two, you're usually at 30 or so. He's better when you give him a little bit of a rest."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.