MIAMI — Miami Marlins first baseman Michael Morse could return from his rehab assignment sometime during the nine-game homestand.
Morse, who has been on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 24 with a right ring finger sprain, has appeared in five contests for Double-A Jacksonville. He went 5 for 17 (.294) with two runs, a double, a homer, three RBI, three walks and seven strikeouts. Over his past three games with the Suns before moving onto Triple-A New Orleans, he posted multiple hits in two of them.
"Swung the bat very well his last three games," manager Dan Jennings said. "We thought we’d take him to the next level. Double-A is starting the All-Star break, so having him at that next level he should be getting real close now. It’s just a matter of him getting the at-bats and the timing and seeing different pitches at different levels."
Prior to the injury, Morse struggled through 37 games, posting a .211 average with four doubles, two homers and 10 RBI. The Marlins signed the 2014 World Series champion to a two-year deal to protect Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup as the cleanup hitter.
COSART TO RETURN SOON
Right-hander Jarred Cosart, on the DL retro to May 14 with vertigo, will rejoin the ballclub for the Los Angeles Dodgers series this weekend.
In three rehab starts, Cosart posted a 1.80 ERA over 16 innings, allowing seven runs on 19 hits with 13 strikeouts and eight walks. His first two outings came with Triple-A New Orleans, while he toed the rubber for Double-A Jacksonville on Sunday. Cosart walked six and struck out six over five frames of one-run, three-hit ball in that appearance.
"He’s good," Jennings said. "He had a nice outing. He had a little over 100 pitches. He walked six, which was a little more than we wanted, but he threw the ball well. He too utilized all his pitches and made sure he had a few changeups and some very good curveballs. I think you could look to see him be activated Thursday. We wouldn’t do it before then because he pitched on Sunday. There’s no need to do that and be short a man."
Miami has yet to decide on its weekend rotation, but moves will need to be made upon Cosart’s return. Jennings said righty Tom Koehler, who was scratched from Saturday’s start with a sore neck and back, feels better and should be fine for his next outing. Jennings also noted that lefty Justin Nicolino, who tossed seven scoreless innings in Koehler’s place, earned another start to follow up his big-league debut.
According to Jennings, third baseman Martin Prado feels better but is still not ready to go.
Prado, who went on the DL retro to June 15 with a right shoulder sprain, has been on a strengthening program to work on his range of motion. He could, however, return from the DL when the 15 days are up for the San Francisco Giants series.
"It looks that way from what we’ve been told," Jennings said. "Obviously, until he goes out and tests it throwing across, we truly won’t know, but the range of motion is going well, so that’s step No. 1. Just depends on how much soreness he has throwing across. You guys know he wants to play as much as anybody we have."
Right-handed reliever Bryan Morris threw a scoreless eighth inning in his first rehab outing for Single-A Jupiter on Monday night. He struck out and walked a batter. Morris landed on the DL retroactive June 7 with a lower back strain.
"We’re going to visit with him after BP here," Jennings said. "He may be very close. From what (head athletic trainer) Sean (Cunningham) said it was pretty electric stuff. No problem with the back. BeMo said he felt strong, so that’s always great news."
SWITCHING IT UP
Jennings tinkered with Tuesday night’s lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals, placing JT Realmuto in the second spot for the first time in his career and moving Derek Dietrich behind Giancarlo Stanton in the fifth slot.
Dietrich posted back-to-back two-hit contests in Cincinnati, while Marcell Ozuna went 3 for 19 on the five-game trip. Realmuto, who usually bats seventh, had never been higher than fifth.
The lineup perfectly balances left-handed and right-handed batters until the pitcher in the ninth spot, beginning with Dee Gordon as the leadoff man and ending with Adeiny Hechavarria in the eighth hole.
"Just looking," Jennings said. "Right now riding the hot hand. Hopefully we get Prado back, who has such a knack for that two spot. Dietrich’s been swinging the bat well, so we thought we’d back him up and put him in an RBI situation. JT has swung the bat very well. With any luck at all he’s probably hitting 40 points higher. He’s had a lot of hard-hit balls. We’ll utilize him up there in that spot. Gives us a lefty-righty mix up and down the lineup and see how that goes."