Posted on September 6, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that would certainly apply to the Miami Marlins, who have lost nine of their last 10 games and fallen five games out of the second wild card spot in the National League. In a move that reeks of desperation, the Marlins activated injured outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the DL on Tuesday, weeks before even the most optimistic timeline had him returning to the field. Miami also activated Justin Bour from the DL, although that move was expected.
Stanton was lost to a groin injury on August 13, and was initially thought to be out for the remainder of the regular season. The base-case scenario had Stanton returning for the final week of the regular season, not with more than three weeks left to play in the season. By activating a still injured Stanton, the Marlins are attempting to get anything they can out of one of the more feared power hitters in baseball and someone the team has sorely missed over the last few weeks.
“He’s basically a bat off the bench right now, and he will continue to rehab,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday. “We feel like he will continue to get better and better. We’ll see if he will be able to get back on the field or not to play the outfield and things like that.” At this point, if Stanton is willing to play hurt, the Marlins have little to lose, and one at bat per game from Stanton is better than nothing.
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When Stanton is fit to play right field and get four or five plate appearances in a game remains to be seen. However, Mattingly did say Tuesday that he’s healthy enough to run the bases on his own and won’t require a pinch runner if he reaches base. Nevertheless, Stanton has been instructed to run cautiously so he doesn’t re-aggravate his groin injury.
Meanwhile, the activation of Bour is less of a surprise, as he had been rehabbing in recent days. Bour has not played since July 2 due to a high-ankle sprain. Since then, the Marlins have missed the power he provides, especially with Stanton also going to the DL last month. Miami has also been without center fielder Marcell Ozuna for the past week after he hurt his wrist making a diving catch on August 31. He is listed as day-to-day, and Miami’s struggles have coincided with him out of the lineup.
Bour, like Stanton and Ozuna, was not in Mattingly’s starting lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, the presence of both on Miami’s bench should give the Marlins a boost. “It sure looks better on my card that these guys are available,” Mattingly said about having the power threats of Stanton and Bour available coming off the bench.
However, the Marlins have dug themselves quite a hole over the past week and a half, and any boost that Stanton and Bour can provide may be too little too late for Miami to capture a wild card spot. Stanton deserves credit for trying to play hurt, as do the Marlins for throwing everything they have into their playoff chase. But with the way the Marlins have played lately, it could take a minor miracle to put them in the postseason.