Rule 5 pick Silverio making solid case with bat

VIERA, Fla. -- Alfredo Silverio is not yet ready to play in the outfield, but the 25-year-old is getting ample chances to hit in Grapefruit League games.

A Rule 5 Draft pick in December, Silverio was the Marlins' designated hitter on Wednesday against the Nationals. Earlier in camp, he belted a home run off Cardinals left-hander Randy Choate.

Silverio, formerly in the Dodgers' system, missed all of last year due to injuries he sustained in a serious auto accident in the Dominican Republic. The crash led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The outfielder has been on a throwing program, but he hasn't been cleared to play the field. That may occur closer to Opening Day.

Before the crash, Silverio was highly regarded. The Marlins must make a decision to see if he is a potential fit in the organization.

"That's why we're going to have to him in as many of these games as we can, to see what he can do," manager Mike Redmond said. "We'll see and be able to say, 'Hey, with a few more at-bats, this is what we are able to project him out to do.' Definitely, we're going to have to make a decision at some point. All we can do is get him in there as much as possible."

Spring Training numbers can be misleading, but Redmond is impressed with Silverio's power.

"Obviously, we feel like this is a guy who has the ability to help us out," Redmond said. "You play him to see what everybody is talking about is true. To see him have good at-bats, and hit for power. We need that. He fits what we need in the middle of that order."

At some point, the evaluation will have to include how Silverio plays the outfield.

"We have to wait to see what he can do," Redmond said. "The DH doesn't do us a whole lot of good in the National League right now. We've got to wait and get him out in the field."