4:36pm: Miami has activated Alfaro and optioned Wallach to Triple-A, Daniel Alvarez Montes of El Extrabase tweets.
3:03pm: The Marlins have been without some of their top names, but the team revealed today that Starling Marte, Sixto Sanchez, and Jorge Alfaro are all taking steps towards returning to the active roster. MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola (Twitter link) was among those to report that on Tuesday, Marte will begin a Triple-A rehab assignment and Sanchez will throw his first bullpen session of the season. Alfaro, meanwhile, has rejoined the Marlins after his own rehab assignment, but he may not be activated from the injured list for tonight’s game.
Marte suffered a rib fracture back on April 18, cutting short a great (.316/.420/.491 with two home runs) start for the outfielder over his first 69 plate appearances. After over a month away, Marte’s rehab stint will likely last at least a couple of games, but assuming no setbacks, he should be on pace to return to the Marlins lineup in relatively short order. That would be welcome news for a Miami team that is struggling to generate offense, but even with a modest 22-24 record, the Marlins are still only two games back of first place in the congested NL East.
Getting Sanchez back on the mound would also be a boost to Miami’s rotation, as Sanchez has yet to pitch in 2021. COVID protocols delayed the right-hander’s arrival in Spring Training until the middle of March, and Sanchez was then sidetracked by shoulder inflammation. As of earlier this month, the Marlins were hopeful Sanchez would return at some point in June, which still seems like a realistic timetable if Sanchez is now ready to start throwing bullpens.
Alfaro was struggling to the tune of a .229/.250/.257 slash line over 36 PA before a hamstring strain sent him to the injured list on April 21. Veteran Sandy Leon has seen the majority of playing time at catcher in Alfaro’s absence, so Chad Wallach might be the odd man out when Alfaro returns since Wallach still has minor league options remaining.
In more Marlins injury news, pitching prospect Edward Cabrera threw a 20-pitch, live batting practice session on Saturday, and he will have a similar session at some point this week. Cabrera has been sidelined by an inflamed nerve in his biceps since February. The right-hander is regarded as one of the Marlins’ top minor leaguers and a top-100 prospect in all of baseball, but thanks to his injury setback, it doesn’t seem likely that Cabrera will make his MLB debut in 2021. Cabrera reached the Double-A level in 2019, acquitting himself well with a 2.56 ERA and 27.56% strikeout rate in 38 2/3 innings.