Marte nearing return; Marlins debut new look

May 21st, 2021

MIAMI -- Though the Marlins didn't take batting practice after an overnight arrival into South Florida, Starling Marte did on Friday afternoon at loanDepot park. On the injured list since April 20 with a left rib fracture, the sidelined center fielder is nearing a return. 

Marte will use this weekend to work on the field before the medical staff evaluates him and decides on the next step -- whether it be going on a rehab assignment or rejoining the club. Marte spoke to a small group of reporters about a possible timeframe following his BP session. 

"I think I need two days, maybe three days to see velocity. Have to be comfortable on the field, at home plate, see some pitches before I come here," Marte said.

Earlier in the day when asked whether Marte could return during the homestand, which runs through Thursday, manager Don Mattingly said it's a possibility. Should Marte play in rehab games, it appears more likely he would come back in time for the next road trip on Friday in Boston.

"He's been doing everything that you'd want him to do as far as throwing, running, hitting off the machine, hitting off the tee," Mattingly said. "He hasn't had any setbacks [and] is feeling good. Just a matter of progressing with BP and deciding where you go from there. That's where we'll just follow medical, what their thoughts are about his health."

Prior to the injury, Marte had started all 15 games, slashing .316/.420/.491 with a .912 OPS towards the top of Miami's lineup. The offense has missed him, scoring three runs or fewer in 24 of 43 games this season. There has been a lot of mixing and matching in his absence, with Lewis Brinson (12 games), Magneuris Sierra (10), Adam Duvall (six) and Monte Harrison (one) starting in center field.

"I think the time it took is fine," Marte said. "They made sure I'll be ready and don't feel anything to come back. Sometimes less time and you come back and you get hurt again, and we don't want that, so I think we're doing good."

'Un paso más y llegamos'

Not only did the Marlins debut a new look for Friday's series opener against the Mets, but they also unveiled a new art installation on the West Plaza at loanDepot park. Folklore, which was painted by Puerto Rican artist Carlitos Skills, consists of four shipping containers featuring elements inspired by Miami’s City Connect Series uniform. Fans can visit Folklore prior to home games and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on non-gamedays.

"The plan is that we want to continue to focus, to tell the story," Marlins vice president, experience & innovation Michael Shaw said on Bally Sports Florida earlier in the week. “This is an incredible story -- the story of the Sugar Kings -- and so this is not a one-time event, this is really more of a launch. It's the grand opening, not grand closing. The opening will start this weekend, Friday through Sunday, and then each month, we'll continue to wear our legacy, because we think there's a story that we want to continue to tell throughout the season and then moving forward in future seasons.”