Included in an update yesterday about the Nationals players who were participating in the Caribbean Winter Leagues, were first baseman Chris Marrero’s numbers: .288 average, .387 on-base percentage, .327 slugging percentage. He wasn’t blowing the top off the Dominican Winter League but he was putting together a nice season. He hadn’t, however, played in a game since Nov. 15. That could have been for a number of reasons — especially since a lot of U.S. players take some time off to go home for holidays.
Turns out it was due to a torn hamstring, an injury suffered two weeks ago while playing for the Tigres de Licey, and underwent surgery in Washington recently, as a confirmed report from MLB.com late Monday night stated.
This is a difficult injury for Marrero, who already struggled through a devastating broken leg in 2008, because of the timing.
Marrero wasn’t going to be the Nationals starting first baseman with Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse both ahead of him at that position at this point, but he showed enough last year to prove that he could thrive in a bench role. One of the main questions Nationals officials wanted answered when they called up Marrero and Steve Lombardozzi at the end of the 2011 season was: could do well in a reduced role? Would their development be stunted by sitting on the bench and filling in when needed or had they gotten enough experience to succeed in that type of role? The answer was yes for Marrero and the Nationals were counting on him as their right-handed bat barring any significant bench upgrades via trade or free agency.
Ffor Marrero his injury costs himself a chance to tryout to be the Nationals’ right-handed bat off the bench, at least out of the gate in 2012.
The Nationals have made their primary goals this offseason finding a starting pitcher and a center fielder, all the while working to solidify a bench that manager Davey Johnson often felt wasn’t suited to his liking in 2011. Marrero’s injury refocuses their bench needs.