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Brinson sent to Triple-A to boost development

MRI reveals bone bruise for Walker; prospect Sanchez takes next step
@JoeFrisaro
April 30, 2019

MIAMI -- Throughout his struggles as a rookie in 2018 and for the first month of this year, the Marlins had shown patience with outfielder Lewis Brinson. But on Tuesday, the organization decided the 24-year-old’s development would be best served with a return to the Minor Leagues. The Marlins optioned

MIAMI -- Throughout his struggles as a rookie in 2018 and for the first month of this year, the Marlins had shown patience with outfielder Lewis Brinson. But on Tuesday, the organization decided the 24-year-old’s development would be best served with a return to the Minor Leagues.

The Marlins optioned Brinson to Triple-A New Orleans, and in a corresponding move, they reinstated outfielder/first baseman Garrett Cooper from the 10-day injured list. Cooper started Tuesday night's game at first base, but left after getting hit on the left hand by a Trevor Bauer fastball in the third inning. X-rays were negative, and he's listed as day to day with a contusion. Cooper had been on the injured list since March 31 with a left calf strain.

Miami’s primary center fielder since being acquired from the Brewers as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson batted .197/.247/.263 in 27 games this season.

The slow start follows a 2018 rookie season in which Brinson slashed .199/.240/.338 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs.

“Obviously, we know that Lewis is a big part of the future,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “We wanted to see his continued progress, and he's had moments, thus far this year. But we just felt, in total, that it was best for him at this time to go down, and sort of clear his head and get back to the program we have in place to continue his development, and ultimately get him back to the big leagues.”

At Triple-A, Brinson will get the opportunity to reconnect with a hitting instructor Justin Mashore, the Baby Cakes hitting coach. Brinson has history with Mashore dating back to 2013, when they were both in the Rangers’ system at Class A Hickory.

“We've had a lot young players over the years,” Hill said. “Sometimes you need to take a step back, regroup and get yourself together and refocus. Get back to work, and get back to the big leagues.”

For more than a week, Brinson's playing time was reduced, while Isaac Galloway, who will bat eighth against the Indians on Tuesday, has been getting increased time in center field. Brinson has been working in the cages while studying videos during that time.

During his Minor League stint, Brinson will have to show he can handle breaking pitches. He’s hitting just .071 (2-for-28) off them this year, according to Statcast, compared to .333 (11-for-33) off all fastballs.

“I've got to have a better plan at the plate,” Brinson said. “The guys up here, everybody has a scouting report. Everybody knows your weak spots -- what you swing at, what you chase. I just have to do better swinging at pitches I want to swing at.”

His plate discipline also has to improve. Brinson’s chase rate is 40.7 percent, up from 33.9 percent a year ago.

In his past seven games, he was .231/.286/.308.

“I'll go down there, and do what I've got to do,” Brinson said. “Refine myself, my approach and be back as soon as possible.”

Worth noting

• Infielder Neil Walker had an MRI, which revealed a minor left knee bone bruise, related to the sore hamstring that kept him out of the starting lineup the final three games at Philadelphia over the weekend. The Marlins are hopeful to avoid an injured list stint, and Walker is available to pinch-hit. With a two-game series against the Indians, followed by an off-day on Thursday, Walker could be ready for more extended playing time by the weekend against the Braves.

• Miami's No. 1 prospect, right-hander Sixto Sanchez, will be making his Class A Advanced Jupiter debut on Thursday at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Sanchez, ranked No. 26 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list, has been throwing in extended spring games. The plan is to get him to Double-A Jacksonville, but not until after Thursday’s Hammerheads’ debut.

• Right-hander Nick Neidert, Miami's No. 4 prospect, has been placed on the Minor League injured list with right knee tendinitis.

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