Notebook: Marlins Derek Dietrich working on regaining confidence
MIAMI — An odd hop off the bat of Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay is all it took to break a little confidence.
On March 20, the high bounce on a routine double play also fractured Marlins infielder Derek Dietrich’s nose. He needed to wear a protective mask for the next 10 days.
"I think him getting hit in the face in spring training affected him a little bit, especially early on," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I know (infield coach Perry Hill) had him out here and we’ve been hitting hard ground balls to him the last couple of days. I think that’s just something you’ve got to work through to get over that."
During the opening stages of the season, Dietrich’s defense has been an enigma.
Dietrich has already made three miscues — two at second and one at third — in 10 games. They occurred in three of his first four games. Over the past five, he has avoided that part of the stat sheet but has still looked awkward on plays.
Upon his big-league call-up in 2013, Dietrich committed just two errors over 57 games. He impressed both Hill and himself during his stint.
"It’s still early and I’m working on some things to improve my defense," Dietrich said. "Last year I was very solid in the field, so a few minor mistakes early and people are going to know that’s not how I usually play D. We’re out here every day trying to get better. (I’m) doing everything I can offensively to help this club win, and glad I had the opportunity to be out there again today."
Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon grounded into a sure double play in the sixth inning of Monday’s game. Instead, Dietrich bobbled the ball and salvaged the play with an out at first. It wasn’t called an error, but it prolonged the inning further. Two batters later, Dietrich made a highlight-reel play to his left for a ball.
"Everyone knows at any position errors happen. They shouldn’t happen that much at this level," Dietrich said. "They’ve cost us some games. As a team we have to solidify our defense. I’m working hard every single day to get better defensively, and I know a lot of our guys are.
"Those things happen, and you’ve got to move onto the next play, next pitch. You’ve got a chance to turn a double play or make a great play and get out of the inning. Stay focused and stay in the moment, and we should be able to be alright. Get the fundamentals and back to the basics. The game isn’t speeding up, but I do my best to maintain my rhythm, and speed and try not to go too fast."
TURNER’S NEXT STEP
Right-hander Jacob Turner was expected to throw 40-45 pitches during his first bullpen session Friday afternoon.
Before he went out to throw, the 22-year-old said it "feels totally 100 percent. We’ll see how it feels (after)."
Turner, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain, will throw another bullpen on Sunday.
"If everything’s well (he’ll) go up to Jupiter (for rehab starts) while we’re on the road to pitch," Redmond said.
Second baseman Rafael Furcal will continue his extended spring training at Double-A Jacksonville starting on Monday once his week in Jupiter concludes on Sunday.
Furcal, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, is 2 for 9 (.222) with two runs, three walks, a strikeout and a stolen base in three games with the Hammerheads.
"Could possibly be not too far off if he’s feeling good," Redmond said. "He’s running well, so that’s a good sign. I know he’s being smart about it too not pushing it. All the reports I’ve heard is, ‘he’s feeling good, everything’s going well. He’s right on track.’ We’ll see after this weekend how he’s doing."
The 36-year-old has not played a full nine-inning game yet. He only had 18 at-bats during Grapefruit League action.
"Once he gets to that point that’s the benchmark," Redmond said. "Once you get to the point you can play nine innings multiple days in a row you’ve got a pretty good idea of where a guy’s at."
When the Marlins got their first off day on April 7, they left for the nation’s capital with a 5-2 record and first place in the National League East.
Ten days later, Miami has lost nine of 10 and finds itself last in the division. Thursday’s off day could not have come at a better time.
"It’s nice to just relax. I think ever day off is nice and relaxing for guys not just physically but mentally," Redmond said. "We’ve had some emotionally tough losses over the last week, so I’m sure it was nice for all the guys to get away. Not think about baseball for a day and spend some time with their families and sleep and enjoy a nice meal."