Chisholm starts at shortstop for 1st time in '21

April 8th, 2021

MIAMI -- Jazz Chisholm Jr., MLB Pipeline's No. 63 overall prospect, got his first start of the season at shortstop in the Marlins' 7-0 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at loanDepot park.

According to manager Don Mattingly, Miguel Rojas was left out of the lineup because it was a travel day, which is followed by a day game on Thursday in New York. Rojas had started Miami's first five games of the season. Super-utility player Jon Berti got the nod at second with Chisholm shifting to the other side of the infield.

Chisholm, who won the second-base job in Spring Training, is considered the franchise's future shortstop. He made nine appearances (six starts) at the position in 2020 upon his callup. In 51 2/3 innings, Chisholm committed one error, turned three double plays and posted zero outs above average and 0.3 range runs above average (UZR). MLB Pipeline's scouting report calls the 23-year-old's actions, range, hands and arm solid or better at shortstop. On the 20-80 scale, he has grades of 55 for fielding and arm.

During Spring Training, general manager Kim Ng noted that the organization was intrigued by Chisholm's versatility. With him on the roster, the club has the luxury of giving Rojas a breather without expecting a dip defensively at shortstop. The Marlins are making a concerted effort to keep their players fresh and healthy over the course of a 162-game season.

"We knew we're going to have to be a little careful with some guys, and Miggy has been one guy that has not been down the lineup," Mattingly said. "We've got to be careful with those guys using the off-day. Still, we felt they're in good shape. But with Miggy we just wanted to give him a little breather today. I'd rather do it with Jazz at short, when we do that, if we can."

Who's on the mound?
Miami has yet to announce its starter for Thursday's road opener against the Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field, but it will be a right-handed prospect -- either Nick Neidert (the Marlins' No. 12 prospect) or Rule 5 Draft pick Paul Campbell (No. 29), per Mattingly. Neidert, who was recalled on Monday when righty Elieser Hernandez went on the injured list, recently threw a bullpen session and would line up. Thursday would have been Hernandez's turn in the rotation.

The Marlins will also need someone to join the starting staff on Sunday. Unlike this past Sunday's off-day, the club will use Friday's day off to give its starters an extra day as part of its long-range plan to manage innings. That means right-hander Sandy Alcantara, who pitched on Opening Day and Tuesday, will be pushed back to Monday's series opener in Atlanta. Sunday's options include Campbell and rookie southpaws Daniel Castano and Braxton Garrett (Miami's No. 9 prospect), who are both at the alternate training site in Jacksonville, Fla.

"When we get a chance to use those off-days, we want to try to use them," Mattingly said. "Obviously, we didn't here early when we got guys out of the box. But just the way you set it up, you're trying to set up your days moving forward for as many guys as possible to get that extra day. Call it like a plus-one and try to stay away from plus-twos and things like that."

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