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Realmuto joins 7 on DL to start regular season

Catcher won't be rushed back from bone bruise in effort to avoid lingering effects
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- A string of injuries late in Spring Training has the Marlins set to place seven players on the disabled list, including catcher J.T. Realmuto, who had been hopeful that his bruised lower back would be recovered by Opening Day.

On Tuesday, the Marlins announced Realmuto (low back contusion), third baseman Martin Prado (right knee) and shortstop JT Riddle (sore right shoulder) would be placed on the DL. Additionally, four pitchers -- Wei-Yin Chen (left elbow), Dan Straily (right forearm inflammation), Elieser Hernandez (dental surgery) and Brett Graves (left oblique) will also start off on the disabled list.

MIAMI -- A string of injuries late in Spring Training has the Marlins set to place seven players on the disabled list, including catcher J.T. Realmuto, who had been hopeful that his bruised lower back would be recovered by Opening Day.

On Tuesday, the Marlins announced Realmuto (low back contusion), third baseman Martin Prado (right knee) and shortstop JT Riddle (sore right shoulder) would be placed on the DL. Additionally, four pitchers -- Wei-Yin Chen (left elbow), Dan Straily (right forearm inflammation), Elieser Hernandez (dental surgery) and Brett Graves (left oblique) will also start off on the disabled list.

Rosters must be set by 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday morning, prior to the Marlins 12:40 p.m. ET start time against the Cubs at Marlins Park.

All seven players heading to the DL will be retroactively placed from Monday. The earliest they can be reinstated is Game 5.

One of the faces of the franchise, Realmuto was injured in a collision at second base on March 11 against the Yankees. The initial MRI revealed a bone bruise to his lower back.

"We want to make sure when he comes back he's able to do the things we ask of him and that he expects to do," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We're not going to rush him at all, and give him every ounce of time that he needs, so that when he comes back he can be reinserted and perform at the level we're used to. It's a bone bruise and we can't rush him to heal."

The injury occurred when Realmuto tumbled over second baseman Gleyber Torres on a play in which he was picked off by catcher Gary Sanchez.

Torres' knee caught Realmuto squarely on the back.

In recent days, Realmuto has played catch, but he hasn't swung a bat since the day he was hurt. The Oklahoma native had 22 at-bats in Spring Training games and will need some time to get back into playing shape.

Realmuto has emerged as one of the top catchers in the Majors. In 2017, he appeared in 141 games, and had a slash line of .278/.332/.451 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs.

With their front-line catcher headed to the disabled list, the Marlins have Tomas Telis as a switch-hitter who is more advanced offensively than as a receiver behind the plate. But it isn't clear if Telis will automatically become the starter.

Chad Wallach also is on the 40-man roster, and Bryan Holaday, more of a defensive specialist, is a non-roster invitee. Holaday had an out clause last Saturday but didn't exercise it.

Straily, initially tabbed the No. 2 starter, will be in no-throw status until Friday, at the earliest.

Prado and Riddle are progressing, and will first play in rehab assignment games before they join the big league club.

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

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto