MIAMI — Standing in the home dugout after his first batting practice in a Miami Marlins uniform, Jordany Valdespin turned to teammate Garrett Jones and asked him which way to the clubhouse.
Hours before Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, Valdespin’s contract was selected from Triple-A New Orleans. Valdespin was so recent an addition to the club that he didn’t have a locker set up when BP began.
That didn’t deter manager Mike Redmond, who wasted no time inserting Valdespin at second base and in the second spot of the order behind Christian Yelich and in front of Giancarlo Stanton.
The 26-year-old batted .270 with nine doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 29 RBI in 61 games with the Zephyrs. Over parts of two major-league seasons, Valdespin is a .219 hitter with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 160 games. He also has 14 stolen bases.
”This is an opportunity to bring a guy who’s been playing well in the minor leagues and hopefully can give us a little bit of a boost,” Redmond said. ”That’s what we’re looking for. Our offense has been sluggish, so we’re looking for a guy to hit at the top of the order and give us some good at-bats, get on base for the big boys and see if he can get us going a little bit. Hopefully he’s able to fill that role for us.
”He’s a talented guy. He really is. This is a great opportunity for him to get himself back in the big leagues, revive himself, and hopefully he can do that be a big spark for us as well.”
Valdespin was on the New York Mets’ Opening Day roster in 2013 and scheduled to platoon with center fielder Colin Cowgill. He hit .188 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 66 contests before receiving a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs with his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Miami signed him to a minor-league deal with no invitation to spring training in December after the Mets non-tendered him.
”He has to prove himself and come out here and show the type of player we’ve all seen glimpses of,” Redmond said. ”Like I said he’s here to hopefully give us a spark and he was swinging the bat well in the minor leagues. He gives us some versatility to play the outfield as well as the infield, but right now we’re looking for him to come up and get on base and give us a little shot in the arm.”
In order to make room on both the 25- and 40-man rosters, the Marlins optioned first baseman Justin Bour to Triple-A New Orleans and transferred second baseman Rafael Furcal to the 60-day disabled list.
Bour, who has had three stints with the Marlins since making his big-league debut in June, has been used sparingly off the bench. In 31 plate appearances over 21 games, he has a .222 clip, one double and four RBI. The 26-year-old’s last seven appearances have been of the pinch-hit variety — all but one for outs.
”No. 1 for us, Bour isn’t used to coming off the bench,” Redmond said. ”Initially we thought it would be a guy to give us some power off the bench. One thing you always keep in mind when you bring young guys from the minor leagues and put them in a role they’re not used to doing — it’s tough. I think we saw that with him.”
Furcal, meanwhile, was put on the 60-day DL for the second time this season. The 36-year-old strained his left hamstring on June 22 trying to run out a grounder. He played in just nine games before the injury and continues to rehab for a possible return.