The Marlins provided a series of injury updates Tuesday (Twitter link via the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson), most notably revealing a pair of unfortunate announcements for fans. Imaging showed a fractured finger in shortstop Miguel Rojas’ hand, while touted young right-hander Sixto Sanchez has once again had his throwing program shut down — this time after feeling discomfort between bullpen sessions.
Rojas landed on the 10-day injured list over the weekend, and while the hope was that he could return in relatively short order from what was then termed a dislocated left index finger, it now seems likely that he’ll miss more time than that after the fracture was revealed. It’s a tough blow for the Marlins, given Rojas’ outstanding glovework and the step forward he’s taken at the plate since Opening Day 2020. Rojas is hitting .275/.354/.433 through 192 plate appearances in 2021 and .287/.370/.459 dating back to last season.
With Rojas sidelined for a to-be-determined period, the Marlins can turn to the youthful combination of Jazz Chisholm and Isan Diaz in the middle infield. Jose Devers presents another young option. The 23-yea-old Chisholm, thus far, has looked like the foundational piece the Fish hoped they were acquiring when trading starter Zac Gallen to the D-backs in a rare prospect-for-prospect swap of significance. Neither Diaz nor Devers has provided much at the plate yet, however.
Chisholm has missed some time recently but avoided the IL stint to this point, and he suggested this morning on Instagram that he’d be returning to the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly effectively confirmed as much, telling McPherson and others that Chisholm is “expected” to play tonight, so long as he gets through his pregame running drills without issue.
The injury to Rojas is of particular note given his contractual status. He’d trigger a $5.5MM vesting option for the 2021 season in the event that he reaches 500 plate appearances this season and finishes the year healthy. With just 308 plate appearances to go, there’s still time for him to hit that mark even if he misses a few weeks, but a lengthier absence will obviously call that clause’s viability into question.
Turning to Sanchez, the latest setback is yet another disheartening development in the promising young righty’s season. The Marlins hoped to have Sanchez early in the year, but he was optioned to their alternate site after missing more than half of Spring Training in Covid protocols.
While building up toward what was expected to be a mid-April debut, Sanchez experienced shoulder discomfort that led the club to shut him down indefinitely. Recent reports that he’d progressed to mound work gave optimism for an early-summer debut, but a second setback has muddied his outlook. Recurring shoulder troubles of any sort are worrisome for a pitcher, particularly for one as talented as Sanchez. The consensus top prospect made his MLB debut last summer and gave Miami 39 innings of 3.46 ERA ball over the life of seven starts at just 22 years of age.