Marcell Ozuna gets call to replace injured Stanton
APR 30, 2013 6:26p ET
Marcell Ozuna, considered a potential key piece of Miami’s future, was summoned to make his major league debut in right field against the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
He lined a single to left in the fifth off Jeremy Hefner for his first big-league hit, and finished 1-for-3 in Miami’s thrilling 2-1 walk-off win.
Ozuna replaced Giancarlo Stanton, who was put on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a strained right hamstring in Monday night’s 15-inning victory against New York.
“I feel excited, my first time coming here and playing with the big guys,” Ozuna said before making his debut. “I didn’t sleep last night. It’s my first time in a big park.”
Ozuna, 22, joins Jose Fernandez in arriving to The Show earlier than had been expected. Tabbed the team’s future ace, the 20-year-old Fernandez was surprisingly added to Miami’s roster a day before the season opener following injuries to pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez.
Ozuna and Jake Marisnick, who was acquired from Toronto during the winter, generally are considered the Marlins’ best position player prospects behind Christian Yelich. All three outfielders began this season on the disabled list.
Yelich, tabbed as the team’s future center fielder, is at Double-A Jacksonville despite having been the Marlins’ best player during spring training. He recently returned after being sidelined with a heel bruise.
Unlike Ozuna, Yelich was not already on the Marlins 40-man roster when Stanton went down. Neither was Marisnick, who’s at Class A Advanced Jupiter having just returned from a broken wrist suffered this spring.
Ozuna, from the Dominican Republic, resembles Stanton is that he’s a righty power hitter who strikes out a lot. He was batting .333 with five homers and 15 RBI in 10 games with Jacksonville after returning from a broken left hand suffered toward the end of spring training.
As for Stanton, an MRI on Tuesday showed a Grade 2 strain.
“We don’t know how long it will take,” Stanton said. “The best (case) is probably two or three weeks. The reality … I don’t know really.”
Stanton appeared to be coming around offensively after a slow start. He belted his first three homers of the season on Saturday and Sunday against the Chicago Cubs and had raised his batting average to .243 before Monday night’s 0-for-5 outing.
The strained hamstring means Stanton will miss the Marlins’ next road trip, which will include a series in his hometown of Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
“Awesome timing,” he said. “If we could just erase all of April, that would be lovely.”
The Marlins also put first baseman Joe Mahoney (hamstring strain) on the DL and recalled left-hander Brad Hand from Triple-A New Orleans.
Charlie McCarthy can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.
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