Chisholm exits with strained left hamstring

April 28th, 2021

The catalyst atop Miami’s order -- and one of the Majors’ early-season breakout stars -- could soon be sidelined.

Marlins rookie sustained a strained left hamstring during a thrilling trip around the bases in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Brewers at American Family Field. When the Marlins went out for defense to begin the bottom of the first, No. 8 prospect José Devers was playing second base.

Following the game, manager Don Mattingly said he had yet to get together with general manager Kim Ng and assistant GM Dan Greenlee to discuss the next course of action. Miami will conclude its three-game series in Milwaukee at 1:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday before flying to Washington D.C., for the final leg of a three-city, 10-game trip.

“I don't know if it's something that we can wait on and see what it looks like tomorrow, if it is a cramp or not,” Mattingly said. “But it's probably something we'll be cautious with. I'm not in a position to make that decision right now.”

Chisholm opened the game by beating out a routine grounder to short for an infield hit. He recorded a sprint speed of 30.1 ft./sec. on the play, going home to first in 4.19 seconds. According to Statcast, 30 ft./sec. is considered elite. On the first pitch to the next batter, Chisholm stole his National League-leading seventh base with a headfirst slide. He then advanced to third on Miguel Rojas' groundout to first before scoring on Jesús Aguilar's sacrifice fly to right  (24.9 ft./sec. sprint speed).

“His hammy tightened up, said he felt something, like it cramped up when he was sliding into second,” Mattingly said. “He ran pretty good from third to home on the sac fly. We didn't notice a big jump or anything. … When you say your hamstring tightens up, you're going to be cautious right away.”

The 23-year-old Chisholm is slashing .290/.375/.551 with a .921 OPS -- best among all MLB second basemen -- in 21 games this season. Entering Tuesday, he ranked first among NL rookies in steals, homers (four) and walks (nine), third in doubles (four), fourth in runs (10) and fifth in RBIs (seven).

Miami has already placed three starting position players on the injured list in the past week: center fielder Starling Marte (left rib fracture), catcher Jorge Alfaro (left hamstring strain) and third baseman Brian Anderson (left oblique strain). So what happens if Chisholm needs to be sidelined?

“We just replace him and move on, right, until he's back,” Mattingly said. “It's the same with Starling and Jorgie and Andy. Got to bring somebody in, and we'll go out there and expect to win, expecting those guys to do well. Obviously, you don't want to lose anybody, you don't want to lose Jazz or any of the other guys. But over the course of a long season, you know you're going to lose guys, and you’ve just got to keep going, keep moving.”

With Anderson out, for example, the club has started super-utility player Jon Berti in his place for seven straight games. During that span, he has gone 6-for-23 with two homers, including a solo shot in the seventh to cut the deficit to one. After opening the season 5-for-29, Berti has found his rhythm and timing, with hits in five of his last seven games.

The Marlins already are fielding a short bench, going with an active roster of 14 pitchers and 12 position players. Rojas and Devers, who had never played above the High-A level until Saturday, are the other non-first-base infielders. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Isan Díaz was seen taking grounders during batting practice as part of the taxi squad. He lost out on the second-base job to Chisholm out of Spring Training.

“With the group of guys we have, we're going to keep punching,” Berti said. “That's our mentality, no matter who's in the lineup, who's available for us that day. We're just going to keep punching, from the first out till the last out, and see how it plays out. So we're just going to keep going and keep pushing.”