Miami Marlins second baseman Rafael Furcal is once again on the 15-day disabled list and on Sunday, management made the move official and recalled Derek Dietrich from Triple-A New Orleans to fill the open roster spot.
Dating back to missing all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Furcal has been shrouded with injuries. The veteran infielder missed the first two months of the season with hamstring and groin injuries and now after injuring his left hamstring trying to beat out an infield double-play grounder in Miami’s 4-0 loss to New York on Saturday, Furcal could be looking at another lengthy stint on the DL.
“It’s going to be a while for him. It looks like it could be an extensive thing,” Marlins manager Redmond said during a pregame meeting with the media on Sunday.
Here’s where Dietrich comes in. The 24-year-old infielder was originally used as the Marlins primary second baseman against right-handed pitchers. Against them, Dietrich batted .263 in 118 at-bats. He went 1 for 12 against lefties prior to being sent down to the minors and went 1 for 4 against New York Mets southpaw Jonathan Niese in the Marlins 11-5 loss on Sunday.
Dietrich was demoted on June 3 because of his defensive struggles (eight errors), but batted.340 average, with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 13 Triple-A games.
“Derek went down and worked hard and is swinging the bat very well so we got to get him in there,” Redmond said.
“From what I’ve heard, he’s played real well [in New Orleans]. He’s played with confidence, and hopefully that will continue for us.”
The Marlins manager hopes that Dietrich’s return could spark the Miami offensive sooner rather than later. For the fourth year in a row, June has been a dark month for the Marlins. They came into the month with a .263 team batting average and averaged 4.6 runs through the first two months of the season, but those stats sank down to .235 and 3.6, respectively, so far in June.
A month like this can be the most difficult stretch for a manager, who basically has no choice but to rearrange the pieces to see if it turns into something nice.
“We haven’t really been beating the cover off the ball the last five or six games,” Redmond said. “You just plug other guys in there until guys get hot. Right now we need a spark.”
Dietrich said he is happy to be back in the Major Leagues and wants to put his past struggles behind him and welcomes another chance to prove he belongs on the Major League roster. He also said that he didn’t change anything when in New Orleans. Which begs the question: did he get better, or did his competition get worse?
That is something that remains to be seen. The training wheels are going to be off and regardless if it’s against righties or lefties, Dietrich will sink or swim against all-comers.
The Marlins need a full-time performer at second base and if Dietrich isn’t going to be it, then it will have to come from somewhere else. Marlins general manager Dan Jennings was a guest on MLB Network Radio’s Front Office show Sunday morning and told hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden that owner Jeffrey Loria is willing to “open the checkbook” to make additions before the trade deadline. So as it was in the begging of the season waiting for Furcal to arrive, it’s now or never for Dietrich.