Marlins notebook

Miami Marlins prospect Christian Yelich finding his groove

cspencer@MiamiHerald.comMay 16, 2013 

The sample size is small. But the numbers are eye-popping.

By going 3 for 6 on Wednesday with two home runs and a double for Double A Jacksonville, Marlins uber-prospect Christian Yelich padded his already gaudy stats this month.

Over his past 10 games, Yelich has 10 extra-base hits, including five home runs, for a slugging percentage of .973.

His on-base average: .468.

His OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage): 1.441.

Yelich is living up to the hype down on the farm. The question is, for how long?

The Marlins probably will promote him to the major-league club sometime next month, but not before they’re sure it doesn’t cost them a precious — and costly — year in salary arbitration.

If the Marlins were to bring him up now, for instance, Yelich would be eligible for salary arbitration as early as 2016. By waiting until the unspecified date, which is usually around the middle of June but could be even earlier this year, Yelich won’t be eligible for his first big raise until 2017 and free agency until after 2019.

A first for Miami

Maybe it’s the new digital display board inside the Marlins clubhouse. Maybe manager Mike Redmond and his staff haven’t yet figured out how to play with the lineup using the device, which is hung from a wall just inside the clubhouse door, the same spot where the handwritten lineup card was traditionally displayed for players to see.

Or maybe Redmond just became tired of changing it game after game. On Wednesday, for the first time all season, the Marlins rolled out the same lineup that was used the previous game.

“I sit in there every day for an hour and try to figure out what I’m going to do,” Redmond said. “A lot of it’s been the same guys. It’s just been different [lineup] positions. I’ve tried to mix guys around, tried to get them going, and it hasn’t really mattered. I think at this point we just go with guys we think fit the best and just let ’er rip.

“[Thursday] it could be totally different.”

Stanton update

No major developments with Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring), who played a little catch Wednesday but hasn’t started jogging yet.

“I’m sure I’ll be able to hit way sooner than I’ll be able to run,” Stanton said.

Stanton said he doubts he’ll miss as much time with his hamstring injury as first baseman Casey Kotchman has with his. Kotchman has been out since the second game of the season but should start his minor-league rehab assignment within the coming week.

COMING UP

•  Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds RHP Mat Latos (4-0, 3.05), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

Friday: Marlins RHP Kevin Slowey (1-3, 2.55) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill (2-4, 2.70), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Scouting report: In six career starts against his hometown Marlins, Latos is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA. He did not receive a decision when he faced Miami in Cincinnati last month, allowing one earned run in seven innings while striking out 10.

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