MIAMI -- Marlins outfielder Garrett Cooper is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a left calf strain, but when he gets back into game action will partly be determined by how he holds up after running drills.
Miami’s Opening Day right fielder, Cooper strained his calf on March 29, in the second game of the season. He went on the 10-day injured list on March 31, and is currently hitting, fielding and doing some mild running. In the next few days, he is expected to begin running the bases, as well as doing drills that involve running curves to test how his calf responds.
“He’s progressing along, that’s for sure,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He was doing some outfield drills today. He’s already been taking ground balls and hitting. He’s doing running progression and will do curves either today or tomorrow.”
Cooper has been doing his conditioning and rehab program in Miami. But next week, when the club is on the road at Cleveland then Philadelphia, he will head to Jupiter, Fla., to continue his progression at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex.
Cooper says he feels fine.
Before being reinstated, Cooper will play in rehab assignment games. More on when that may begin will be known after he picks up his running program. In three games, Cooper is hitless in seven at-bats. The small sample size followed a hot Spring Training, when he hit .395.
Once healthy, Cooper is a candidate to play in either corner outfield spot or at first base.
• Thursday’s off-day gave the Marlins a chance to reset after being swept by the Cubs. After the game, Mattingly held a team meeting, stressing the need to change the team’s mindset and be more focused on collectively pulling together.
“We have to get better in all areas,” Mattingly said. “We’re going to have to do something about it.”
Added outfielder Curtis Granderson: “It’s one of those stretches where there’s more attention to it now because it’s the beginning [of the season]. It’s the beginning, and there is nothing to measure it up against.”
• Center fielder Lewis Brinson continues to be out of the starting lineup as the Marlins have him working on his swing and plan at the plate. Brinson, 1-for-15 in the first six games of this homestand, has been given a few days out of the lineup to refine his mechanics. Brinson last started on Tuesday against the Cubs.