It was bad enough that the Miami Marlins lost starting pitcher Max Meyer after just 10 pitches due to right elbow discomfort in their eventual 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park.
But the injury bug manifested itself twice more as the game progressed, creating a defensive ripple effect for Miami in the final innings Saturday and has the potential to create longer-term ripple effects on the offense as the Marlins try to stay afloat in the National League playoff race.
Exact updates weren’t immediately available on either player postgame. Cooper said his X-ray showed “something” and the initial diagnosis is a contusion but he is awaiting results of a CT scan to determine the exact severity. Anderson said he will undergo an MRI on Sunday.
“It’s been a tough day for us,” Anderson said.
Cooper’s injury happened when he was hit by an up-and-in 96.3 mph Wil Crowe sinker on his right wrist in the same spot where he had to have season-ending surgery in 2018.
He went to the ground in foul territory and was checked on by manager Don Mattingly and assistant athletic trainer Ben Potenziano before retreating to the dugout.
Cooper has had seven injured list stints in his Marlins career, including two that ended his season — the wrist in 2018 and his left elbow in 2021.
“It’s almost comical at this point,” said Cooper, who earned his first All-Star nod this season as a designated hitter after making it through the first half of the season without an IL stint. “You know, these guys on the pitching side, they want to throw 97 up in your hands. I’m not a big fan of that. I think [if you have] elite control and miss up and in, I’m a fan of that. Just to have something like this again, I’m don’t really have any words for it right now. If it is something big, you take the lumps and you move forward.”
Anderson felt the left shoulder injury occur when he dove to his left on a Cal Mitchell groundball that beat the shift for a single in the sixth inning. It was one of several dives Anderson made on groundballs Saturday.
“I was fine on all of them,” Anderson said, “until the last one.”
Anderson, who had two separate injured list stints last season due to left shoulder subluxation and ultimately needed surgery, also felt fine enough to hit in the seventh, flying out to lead off the frame, but was replaced defensively for the bottom half.
That coupled with Cooper’s injury made things interesting for Mattingly.
Luke Williams, who started in left field, took Anderson’s spot at third base. JJ Bleday entered as a defensive replacement in left field, making his MLB debut in the process.
Cooper pinch-hit for Williams in the eighth and, if not for the hit by pitch, likely would have gone to first base with Jesus Aguilar moving to third base.
But once Cooper sustained the injury, Miami’s bench consisted of just two outfielders — Billy Hamilton and Jesus Sanchez. Hamilton pinch-ran for Cooper. Sanchez then pinch-hit for Jacob Stallings, emptying the bench.
Mattingly, as a result, had to play Hamilton in the infield for the eighth inning.
“We definitely got challenged today,” Mattingly said. “We were out of players pretty quick.”
But the bigger problem is how the team looks long-term if the Cooper and Anderson injuries are significant considering Jazz Chisholm Jr. is already out until at least early September with a stress fracture in his back and Jon Berti is also on the injured list.
Lewin Diaz would be a logical option to replace Cooper and work the first base tandem with Aguilar.
As for depth behind them? Jose Devers is the only healthy infielder on the 40-man roster. Willians Astudillo is with the team on the taxi squad. Erik Gonzalez and Charles Leblanc are internal options at Triple A Jacksonville.