MIAMI -- All signs point to Christian Yelich returning to the Marlins when he is first eligible to come off the disabled list.
Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the target date is for the 22-year-old left fielder to be reinstated on June 29, which will be the finale of a three-game series against the A's.
"If he continues to improve, he should be on pace to play when his day comes up," manager Mike Redmond said. "His day is up the 29th."
Yelich sustained a lower back strain in the first inning on June 13 against the Pirates. He tweaked his back while fielding Gregory Polanco's single to left to open the game. In the bottom of the first inning, Yelich grounded out to short and labored jogging to first base. He was immediately lifted.
Yelich is playing catch, and on Thursday, he took some dry swings with his bat and felt fine. On Friday, he hit off the tee for the first time.
When the Marlins go on their road trip to Philadelphia on Monday, Yelich will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he will ease into some game action. Most likely he will play at least one game on a rehab assignment with the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads.
Yelich has six home runs, 24 RBIs and 41 runs scored, mostly as Miami's leadoff hitter. His slash line is .259/.342/.418.
"We miss him," Redmond said.