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Marlins expect Brinson, Cooper to return soon

Rookie Opening Day starters progressing from injuries
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- A couple of Opening Day position-player starters currently on the disabled list are expected to be back in the Marlins' lineup for at least the final few weeks of the season.

Lewis Brinson (right hip bone bruise) and Garrett Cooper (right wrist sprain) are progressing, and each could see significant playing time beginning in late August or early September. Ideally, the Marlins would like each to get about 100 at-bats before the season wraps up.

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MIAMI -- A couple of Opening Day position-player starters currently on the disabled list are expected to be back in the Marlins' lineup for at least the final few weeks of the season.

Lewis Brinson (right hip bone bruise) and Garrett Cooper (right wrist sprain) are progressing, and each could see significant playing time beginning in late August or early September. Ideally, the Marlins would like each to get about 100 at-bats before the season wraps up.

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Both are doing baseball activities, but neither has advanced to game situations. There is still time to get them in rehab assignment games before the Minor League season ends in early September.

"[Brinson] is getting closer, as long as he continues to progress without any setbacks," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's taking BP. He's working in the cage. That intensity is ramping up all the time, doing outfield drills. He's getting himself ready to play."

Video: NYM@MIA: Brinson belts his 10th homer of the season

Cooper and Brinson are currently recovering in Miami under the supervision of the team's training staff.

"Coop is another guy I'd like to get another 100 at-bats, hopefully," Mattingly said. "We haven't really seen him get any kind of rhythm. He's one guy we really want to find out what he can do. We've talked about him possibly playing some winter ball, getting him some more at-bats."

Cooper's injured wrist has limited him to 14 games and 38 plate appearances. He was struck by a pitch in the second game of the season and missed about three months before returning on July 6. But on July 20 against the Rays, he reinjured the wrist when he landed on it while fielding a ground ball at first base and went on the DL for the second time.

Cooper was Miami's Opening Day right fielder, and he also saw action in left field and first.

Video: PHI@MIA: Cooper makes strong throw to nab Hernandez

Brinson has appeared in 84 games -- serving as the regular center fielder -- but last played on July 3.

The rookie has endured his struggles at the plate, batting .186 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs.

"We felt like he was swinging the bat better," Mattingly said. "His at-bats were getting better. You could see it. His swings were shorter, his takes were better. Not necessarily that he was getting a ton more hits, but you just would see a lot more progress in his at-bats.

"We're getting him back into game speed. We're looking forward to getting him 100 at-bats or so before the season ends."

Worth noting

• Rookie Magneuris Sierra got some extra attention on Wednesday, working with former Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre on his bunting. Sierra bunted on the main field and received some pointers from Pierre.

"He basically has the same type of game as Juan," Mattingly said. "He's a guy with great speed, and a guy who has a chance to impact you in different ways. To be able to work with a guy who is a very similar player [should help]."

Pierre was a left-handed hitter who relied heavily on his speed, and he made bunting a big part of his game when he broke in with the Rockies.

"We were talking about it before we came out," Mattingly said. "Juan came to big league camp and he thought he had to hit, hit, hit. Basically, the Rockies told him, 'If you want to be in the big leagues, you've got to be able to bunt.'"

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson, Garrett Cooper