Whether the Marlins make a move or not before the July 31st trade deadline, manager Fredi Gonzalez and Larry Beinfest are still going to have a few important decisions to make regarding the outfield and bullpen in the coming weeks.
At the top of the list: How to accommodate outfielder Cameron Maybin, who is thriving in Triple A (.320, .409 OBP) since being demoted May 10, and reliever Luis Ayala, who signed with the Marlins Thursday and will pitch a handful of times in Triple A before being called up.
Unless rookie Chris Coghlan (third in the NL in on base percentage among leadoff hitters) moves somewhere in the infield, the outfield will become a crowded place when Maybin returns to his spot in center and veteran Cody Ross moves back to right.
For the past two weeks, Jeremy Hermida and Brett Carroll have alternated starts in right field while Alejandro De Aza (called up from Triple A June 3) has played in spot duty.
Clearly the best defensive outfielder, Carroll has played well over the past few weeks and started for the 11th time in the last 23 games Saturday. He's hitting .324 against lefties and .444 with runners in scoring position and has seen more playing time because Hermida is hitting .195 against lefties.
"This year, the first time he came up, he didn't really get an opportunity," Gonzalez said. "But when he came up again, we threw him in there against left-handed pitching every once in a while and he's gotten some knocks."
While Carroll has been the pleasant surprise in the outfield, right-hander Tim Wood, called up June 20, has impressed Gonzalez.
With Kiko Calero expected to return next week in Arizona, its only natural to think Chris Leroux (11.12 ERA) will be asked to head back down to Double A Jacksonville. But what happens when former closer Matt Lindstrom is ready to return or Ayala is ready to move up?
Wood has tossed 6-2/3 scoreless innings -- including a career high three innings Friday -- since being called up. Brian Sanchez is 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA and has pitched 14-2/3 scoreless innings at home in 18 appearances.
"He has made every point to be on this staff and made a very good case [to stay] even when those guys come back," Gonzalez said of Wood.
LINDSTROM FEELS ‘GREAT': Lindstrom said his first two throwing sessions since going on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain June 24 have gone "great."
Initially expected to have to wait at least four weeks before throwing, Lindstrom made about 60 throws on flat ground Friday from about 65 to 75 feet and then threw from longer distances Saturday.
When the Marlins head out to San Francisco and Arizona next week, Lindstrom will continue rehabbing in Single A Jupiter. He will take Sunday off before throwing again Monday. He hopes to start bullpen work soon.
"I couldn't be more happy with what I saw and felt," Lindstrom said. "It was coming out of my hand really good. When it was first kind of diagnosed it was kind of wait and see. It's recovered faster than we initially thought. I'm just going to continue the plan of what the doctor has for me and do whatever I can off the field to prepare to get back on the mound."