04/14/2013 5:33 PM ET
Kearns' absence further depletes Marlins' outfield
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Outfield depth has become a serious concern for the Marlins.
After Austin Kearns was sent to the hospital Sunday morning because of an irregular heartbeat, the team had no healthy outfielders on the bench. Giancarlo Stanton missed his third straight game with a left shoulder bruise, and Justin Ruggiano started in right field Sunday, despite missing Saturday night because of a tight right groin.
"It's probably not 100 percent right now, but I'll get through," Ruggiano said.
Before Sunday's game, Manager Mike Redmond said the club would have to evaluate whether to make a roster move before the series with the Nationals starts Monday.
"We're out of outfielders, so [Ruggiano] is going to play right field," Redmond said. "With Stanton out, we're a little thin. Well, we're very thin. We're running out of options out there. He's got to play. I don't have another outfielder."
The team has not ruled out a disabled list stint for Stanton, who is not likely to be ready Monday.
"The plan was probably to give him a couple of days, and then probably re-evaluate [Monday] and see how he's doing," Redmond said. "I haven't gotten a chance to talk with him yet. I don't think he's even an option as an emergency."
If Stanton is just a few days away from returning, the club could probably get by being shorthanded. But with Ruggiano not at full strength, and Kearns' status uncertain, the club has no natural outfielders on the bench.
Chris Valaika, the utility infielder, and Greg Dobbs can play in the outfield. And last year, second baseman Donovan Solano played some left field.
Kearns was kept overnight Sunday for observation. Stanton was available to pinch-run Sunday, and the hope was that he would swing the bat Monday.
"We can't play down two or three guys for very long," Redmond said. "We hope that after today, we'll figure out where we are at."
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More on Jackie Robinson Day
MIAMI -- A special guest with a tie to Jackie Robinson will be on hand when the Marlins host the Nationals on Monday night at Marlins Park.
South Florida resident Norman Berman was a ball boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers when Robinson played at Ebbets Field. Berman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday.
Major League Baseball on Monday will observe Jackie Robinson Day, paying tribute to the Hall of Famer who broke the game's color barrier in 1947.
All players will wear No. 42 in honor of Robinson. In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute.
As part of the pregame tribute, the Marlins will make a contribution to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Robinson's memory is once again in the public eye, especially with the release of the movie "42," starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford.
Several Marlins attended the premiere, including Kyle Skipworth and Chris Valaika.
Marlins veteran outfielder Juan Pierre has seen several movies on Robinson, and he plans to see "42."
"I've seen about four different ones," Pierre said. "I saw the one where he was actually in it, playing himself in it. It's good to see because all the ones I've ever seen are black and white or fuzzy. I think it will be pretty cool to see the new one with the graphics and everything."
• Down two outfielders because of ailments, Redmond is considering using a pitcher as a pinch-hitter. Ricky Nolasco is an option, and so is Jose Fernandez, the 20-year-old phenom who delivered an RBI single Saturday night.
"It is what it is. I don't know who we will pinch-hit," Redmond said. "Might have Ricky go out there. We might have our next Dontrelle Willis coming off the bench. We might find out quick, today."
• Solano, who has struggled in the field and at the plate of late, was given Sunday off to more or less get a breather. Solano missed time at the end of Spring Training because of a tight back. The team is monitoring him in hopes he will be re-energized Monday.