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MIAMI — As the Miami Marlins are getting healthier, the Colorado Rockies are heading in the opposite direction.
The Rockies won the first game 1-0 on Friday, extending their win streak to three games and improving their road record this season to 10-5.
Even though they lost, the Marlins veteran third baseman Martin Prado came off the disabled list and made his 2018 debut, going 0-for-4.
With Prado back, the Marlins shifted rookie third baseman Brian Anderson to right field, a position he had never played as a pro.
It was a surprising move by the Marlins, a last-place team that is rebuilding with a youth movement. The decision was also odd because Prado has vast experience as an outfielder and might have been seen as the more likely candidate to move off of third base.
Even so, Anderson had a positive outlook.
“It’s exciting,” Anderson told mlb.com. “I’m going to try to make the routine play and keep the ball in front of me.”
Prado, 34, on Friday played his first major league game since July 17.
“I feel like I just got called up to the majors,” said Prado, who had been battling an injury to his right knee. “It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions, but I’m going to do everything I can to help the team.”
Prado has two years and $28.5 million left on his contract, and perhaps the Marlins are showcasing him at third base in an effort to dump his salary.
The Marlins also appear to be on the verge of getting starting pitchers Dan Straily (forearm) and Wei-Yin Chen (elbow) back from the disabled list. Shortstop JT Riddle (shoulder) is also on the mend. All three could be back as soon as this weekend.
Meanwhile, injuries became a serious issue for the Rockies during Friday’s game.
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu left Friday’s game due to a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Pat Valaika.
More concerning, left-hander Tyler Anderson, who started on Friday, lasted just 1 1/3 innings. He left because of an abnormal heartbeat, and his premature departure put a strain on Colorado’s bullpen.
The Rockies did receive some good news on Friday. Outfielder Gerardo Parra returned from a four-game suspension, and fellow outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (hamstring injury) is hitting in the cages and could be back soon.
In addition, Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland, who pitched a combined shutout on Tuesday, has reported progress on his bruised heel and could return to the rotation early next week.
“There’s some swelling,” Freeland told mlb.com. “We’re trying to spread out the bleeding. It feels a lot better.”
Saturday’s pitching matchup will feature Colorado right-hander German Marquez against Miami left-hander Caleb Smith.
Marquez, 23, went 11-7 with a 4.39 ERA last year in his first full season in the majors. He finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
This season, Marquez, a native of Venezuela, is off to a slow start at 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA. His strikeouts are up slightly from 8.2 per nine innings to 8.6. His hits are down from 9.7 to 9.0. But his walks have increased from 2.7 to 5.3.
Those walks have led to two starts this month in which Marquez has allowed six or more runs.
Smith, meanwhile, is still looking for his first major league win. He is 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA for his career and 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA this season.
Similar to Marquez, walks have been a problem as Smith is averaging 6.2 bases on balls per nine innings. But he is allowing just 7.5 hits and is striking out 13.3 batters on average.
Smith has been comfortable at Marlins Park with a 3.48 ERA in two appearances this season. That is in contrast to his 7.94 road ERA in three outings.