05/08/2013 1:58 AM ET
Hechavarria gets first start at Marlins' leadoff spot
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- With the Padres starting left-hander Eric Stults, Marlins manager Mike Redmond decided to give veteran Juan Pierre a day off on Tuesday.
Matt Diaz stepped in to play left field in place of Pierre, and Adeiny Hechavarria led off for the first time as a Marlin.
The 24-year-old shortstop had hit either seventh or eighth all season. But he has put together some quality at-bats the past few days. On Sunday at Philadelphia, he belted a grand slam and matched a franchise record with seven RBIs.
And in Monday's 5-0 loss at San Diego, he ripped a double to right field.
"Wherever they put me, I'm fine," Hechavarria said. "They can put me first, second, seventh or eighth, I'm fine."
Hechavarria recently returned from the disabled list, where he was out with a bruised right elbow.
Tuesday is his sixth game since being reinstated.
"He's been swinging the bat well," manager Mike Redmond said. "I like his at-bats. We talked in Spring Training about him being a top-of-the-order guy. Why not? Let's get him up there and get him at the top of the order.
"The one thing about hitting him eighth is we don't really get to see his speed. He can really run. Hopefully tonight, he can get on base a couple of times, and we'll see him run."
Of late, Hechavarria has shown power to all fields, which will be critical in his development.
"That's something you need to do to have success in the big leagues," Redmond said. "Those pitchers are going test you, and they're going to test you with off-speed. They're going to test you away, and pound you in. You always have to make the adjustments."
Sanabia has tight groin, Valaika fractures wrist
SAN DIEGO -- Losses don't get much more painful than what the Marlins endured Tuesday night at Petco Park.
Alex Sanabia exited after 4 1/3 innings with tightness in his right groin. The right-hander sounded optimistic that he will be fine, and that he should be able to make his next scheduled start.
But the crushing news came in the eighth inning when second baseman Chris Valaika suffered a fracture to the tip of his left radius bone in his wrist.
Valaika was injured when his glove hand was swiped during a stolen base by Yonder Alonso.
The Padres prevailed, 5-1, and the Marlins are now deciding their next moves. Manager Mike Redmond was in a closed-door meeting with president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest for an extended period. Neither was immediately available to comment about the game or the injuries.
"Alonso was stealing second, and I was just trying to get to the base," Valaika said. "I was just trying to get my hand in there, and kind of got bent back and hyperextended. I knew right away something didn't feel right."
Valaika was tended to by the Padres' medical staff. An X-ray was taken, and it revealed the small fracture.
"The Padres doctors helped me," Valaika said. "They got me in, got me an X-ray. I'm going to get back home and in the next couple of days I'll talk with our guy, and see where we go from there."
Valaika, who is from the Los Angeles area, was seeing regular playing time at second base because Donovan Solano was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with a left intercostal strain.
Chris Coghlan replaced Valaika at second base.
Coghlan, an infielder in the Minor Leagues, had not played second since May 8, 2009, the day of his Major League debut. He has played in the outfield ever since.
Nick Green is a candidate to play second base.
Sanabia, a San Diego native, entered Tuesday night eager to pitch in front of family and friends.
Sanabia's outing lasted 4 1/3 innings, and the 24-year-old was removed with right groin tightness. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. He allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits.
"It's like a little pull, nothing serious," Sanabia said. "It is minor."
In the fifth inning, Chase Headley singled, and Sanabia struck out Alonso. But on the pitch that struck Alonso out, Sanabia favored his right side. Immediately, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and assistant trainer Mike Kozak trotted out of the dugout, and catcher Miguel Olivo all headed to the mound.
Sanabia was relieved by Ryan Webb, who ended the inning without surrendering a run.
"I felt it on that last pitch to Alonso," Sanabia said. "Something minor. It's just minor. We did a couple of tests. Everything felt smooth."
Marlins transfer Alvarez to 60-day DL
SAN DIEGO -- Until the last week of Spring Training, the Marlins were anticipating Henderson Alvarez being a big part of their rotation. Now, the earliest the 23-year-old will be available is shortly before the All-Star break.
The Marlins on Tuesday announced Alvarez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. The transaction is the corresponding move to the club placing second baseman Donovan Solano on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Monday, with a left intercostal strain. Nick Green had his contract selected from Triple-A New Orleans.
To create 40-man roster space for Green, Miami had to move Alvarez to the 60-day DL.
Acquired from the Blue Jays last November as part of the big 12-player trade, Alvarez opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. His recovery had a setback recently, and he began playing light catch on Monday.
Manager Mike Redmond said on Tuesday that Alvarez is on a throwing progression, and that he wasn't going to be game-ready until after the 60-day period.
"It kind of worked out where he could go to the 60-day," Redmond said. "He's just starting the process of coming back, and starting to play catch and building his long-toss sessions. He's still a ways out. We're hoping that this is it, and we won't have any more setbacks."
Alvarez initially was slated to be Miami's No. 4 starter, but he went on the disabled list the day before the season opened.
Alvarez pitched for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and made four Grapefruit League appearances for Miami in Spring Training.
Ozuna impressing with prowess at the plate
SAN DIEGO -- The modest hit streak may be over, but Marcell Ozuna's impressive first impression continues.
The 22-year-old, called up to replace injured Giancarlo Stanton in right field, is showing signs of becoming a quality middle-of-the-lineup big leaguer.
"He's a natural hitter," Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez said. "He's got power. He's a strong kid."
Ozuna had hit safely in his first six big league games, which is tied for the second-longest streak by a player to begin his career with the Marlins. The string ended on Monday night at San Diego.
Alejandro De Aza set the club record by hitting in eight straight games in 2007.
In his first few games in the big leagues, Ozuna has already shown power, bat speed and patience at the plate.
"I saw him in Spring Training," Martinez said. "It's obvious he has all the tools. He has a quick bat, and obviously, he's a great defender and all that stuff. He has an idea of what he wants to do at the plate. He was a little bit over-aggressive, I'd say, in Spring Training.
"From the first day of Spring Training until today, he's made huge strides as far as really understanding every at-bat. He goes through the game plan. He knows what the pitcher has. He lays off on stuff that is out of the strike zone, which is very rare for young guys. He's been very impressive."
• Catcher Rob Brantly will get a couple of days off to rest a sore right index finger. The 23-year-old cut his finger recently, and he has played periodically through it. It affects his throwing mostly. Miguel Olivo is expected to start on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.
• Placido Polanco, who has started in eight straight games at third base, will get a breather on Wednesday afternoon. Because the team has been short-handed with Donovan Solano's injury, Polanco has played steadily. Miami is off on Thursday, so Polanco will get two straight days off.