KISSIMMEE -- Alfredo Silverio felt a wave of joy when he stepped onto the field for the Marlins in a Grapefruit League game earlier this spring. And why not? Silverio, a 26-year-old outfielder the Marlins selected in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft, wondered if he would ever play baseball again last June after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm for the second time since suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident.
"I was excited like a little kid," Silverio said. "I feel happy I'm back to normal."
Silverio and the Marlins can only hope. If Silverio returns to previous form when he was an up-and-coming, five-tool outfielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers' farm system, he could provide the Marlins with a payoff on their Rule 5 investment of more than a year ago. Silverio hit .306 with 76 extra-base hits (42 doubles, 18 triples and 16 home runs) for Double A Chattanooga in 2011. But injuries sustained in a car accident caused Silverio to miss the 2012 season, the Dodgers' left him off their 40-man roster, and the Marlins plucked the unprotected Silverio out of the Rule 5 Draft.
The gamble didn't pay off, at least not initially. Silverio re-injured his surgically repaired arm last spring, and in June, doctors performed Tommy John a second time, which caused him to miss his second straight season. By rule, the Marlins were required to offer Silverio back to the Dodgers. But the Dodgers declined, Silverio remained in the system, and now he's attempting yet another comeback.
On Friday, he made the trip to Kissimmee with the Marlins for their game against the Astros. Silverio is expected to start the season at Double A Jacksonville, and those within the organization feel he can move quickly up the ladder. Silverio said he has four doubles and a home run in minor league games so far this spring, and his arm is no longer an issue.
"I remember when we picked him in the Rule 5 draft, guys talked a lot about how good he was," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. "I think we all feel fortunate we were able to keep him in the system. I think a lot of people are curious to see what this guy can do in the minors and -- who knows -- this guy becomes an option down the road for us."
-- Derek Dietrich was to be fitted for a protective face mask on Friday, one day after having his nose broken on a bad-hop grounder. Redmond said Dietrich is day-to-day. "I don't know if I've ever seen a guy with a facemask taking a grounder," Redmond said. "It'll just be (for) fielding, just to protect it from another bad-hop situation."
-- Ed Lucas (hamstring) was scheduled to DH in a minor league game Friday for the second straight day. Redmond said plans are for Lucas, after a day off Saturday, to play first base on Sunday when the Marlins are in Lakeland to play the Tigers.
-- Rafael Furcal (hamstring) is "still about the same," Redmond said. "We've had him out there a couple of times and he's gotten hurt, felt the hamstring when he ran. We're going to try to get him out there running in the next couple of days, trying to test that hamstring a little bit, make sure it's good to go before we get him back out there in a game."
-- Greg Dobbs (quad) could be ready to play in a minor league game by Sunday. "I'm not too worried about Dobber," Redmond said. "He knows how to prepare himself for the season."