Rojas, Dietrich to man third as Prado recovers

Rojas, Dietrich to man third as Prado recovers

JUPITER, Fla. -- Replacing Martin Prado at third base will take a group effort by the Marlins. If the 33-year-old is out for an extended stretch, Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas are the primary options for manager Don Mattingly.

Rojas started at third on Friday in Miami's 5-5 tie with the Nationals. On Saturday against the Tigers in Lakeland, Dietrich is scheduled to handle the hot corner.

"We'll give Deets some more third base," Mattingly said. "We were trying to play him all over, but he will all of a sudden get a lot of at-bats at third base."

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Rojas and Dietrich will split time, but Dietrich, who is more of a power threat, will get a majority of the work, especially since a majority of pitchers are right-handed.

Prado suffered a right hamstring strain while playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night in a 4-2 loss to Team USA at Petco Park in San Diego.

"He's got three more weeks to get better," Rojas said. "Hopefully it's nothing bad, and he [will] be able to play in Spring Training. We have to be ready to cover that spot and fill that blank for a little bit."

The Marlins will have a better indication of how long Prado will be out after he undergoes an MRI in South Florida on Saturday.

Dietrich and Rojas are two versatile bench players capable of handling a number of positions. On Friday, Dietrich started in left field, and he has played most of the time in the big leagues at second base. In 2016, Dietrich appeared in 13 games at third base with seven starts. Rojas was in 16 games at third, with one start.

"Ideally, I'd like to use [Rojas] all over and give everybody days off," Mattingly said. "But we know he can play third."

Before Friday's game, both Rojas and Dietrich did extra work at third base with infield coach Perry Hill.

Dietrich's double

Prado, one of the most respected leaders on the club, performed at a high level in 2016. He played in 153 games, batting .305/.359/.417 with eight home runs and 75 RBIs.

Like Prado, Rojas is from Venezuela, and the two are close friends. Rojas spoke briefly with Prado before he returned to South Florida.

"I told him, 'Hey, this already happened,'" Rojas said. "'You can't be feeling sorry for yourself. Work hard to recover, because we need [you] to. You're a big part of this organization.'"

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.