JUPITER, Fla. -- Heading into Spring Training, the Marlins were hopeful to get a long look at outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa. Those plans changed after the 22-year-old suffered a right hamstring strain.
On Tuesday, the Marlins announced an MRI revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain, which is considered mild. But as a precaution, the club also assigned Mesa to Minor League rehab.
“A little disappointing, because we’re not going to have a chance to see him through the course of camp,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday morning. “I think on the cautious side of it, we’re going to want to make sure that he’s not trying to rush back. He hadn’t played in 15 months. Make sure that he gets healthy. Really, that’s the most important thing.”
Mesa suffered the injury in the sixth inning on Sunday in a 10-6 loss to the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
In his third at-bat, Mesa hustled down the first-base line and beat out a potential double-play ball. But at the bag, he pulled up, favoring his right hamstring.
An MRI was taken on Monday after Mesa returned to the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. A Grade 1 strain is considered the lightest form of strain, requiring at least two weeks to recover.
By being reassigned to Minor League rehab, when Mesa is ready to play, it will be on the Minor League side of Spring Training.
The speedy outfielder defected from Cuba last May. In October, Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., signed as international free agents with the Marlins. The elder Mesa received a bonus of $5.25 million, with Victor Jr. agreeing for $1 million.
Victor Victor hadn’t played in organized games in more than a year, and the Marlins were planning to give him as many at-bats as possible. On Sunday, he started off as the DH, and he remained in the game as a defensive replacement in the outfield.
“We’re going to make sure he is 100 percent and get him ready for the season, and then let him get out and play,” Mattingly said.
Mesa is expected to start the season either at Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.
Foremost, Miami wants Mesa to be healthy.
“It’s obviously mild,” Mattingly said. “I think we’ve all had enough experience with hamstrings. They’re never quick. You have to be cautious. There’s a buildup in what kind of work you can do, and how you progress. You’re going to be cautious with it.”