The Marlins have placed first baseman Garrett Cooper on the injured list without a designation, implying that Cooper’s absence is related to COVID-19. Right-hander Aneurys Zabala will take Cooper’s spot on the active roster, as the Marlins selected Zabala’s contract from Double-A.
It isn’t known if Cooper has tested positive for the virus or if he is being held out for precautionary reasons due to symptoms or a close-contact situation. Cooper was removed from yesterday’s game due to body cramping, and Marlins skipper Don Mattingly told reporters (including The Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson) today that Cooper “was not feeling good overnight. We did some testing on him and we’ll see where that goes.”
Cooper did test positive for the virus back in 2020, when the Marlins were hit with a huge COVID outbreak that sidelined several members of the roster. That absence cost Cooper a month of the shortened 2020 season, and it added to the long list of IL absences Cooper has faced in his six-year MLB career. Though he has only 291 games on his resume, Cooper has performed quite well when healthy, and is currently in the midst of what might be his best season. The first baseman is hitting .315/.389/.473 with four home runs over his first 211 plate appearances of the 2022 campaign.
Cooper has split his time between DH and first base this season, and Jesus Aguilar will now likely see more first base time while Jorge Soler is the likeliest candidate for more DH duty. Jon Berti and Willians Astudillo are both utilitymen, and their versatility will be more valuable than ever as the Marlins try to weather this stretch with Cooper, Brian Anderson, and Joey Wendle all on the injured list.
Zabala had already been with the Marlins on their taxi squad, and the 25-year-old is now set to make his Major League debut. Originally an international signing for the Mariners, Zabala began his pro career as a 17-year-old back in 2014, and he has since bounced around to the farm systems of the Dodgers, Reds, and Phillies before landing with Miami this year. Control has been a problem for Zabala throughout his career, contributing to his 5.48 ERA over 286 innings in the minors.