Injury May Delay Dominguez's Arrival

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. Top prospect Matt Dominguez didn't win the Marlins' everyday third-base job out of spring training.

He figured if things went well offensively in the opening weeks of the Triple-A season, it might not be long before he staked his claim to that post.

That timetable no longer is realistic.

Playing in a preseason game with Triple-A New Orleans a couple of days before breaking camp, Dominguez took a pitch off the left elbow and suffered a minor fracture. He is expected to miss about six weeks.

Whether the injury costs Dominguez, 21, a chance to debut with the Marlins this season is speculative. When they reassigned him to minor league camp, the Marlins were prepared to leave him in Triple-A all season if needed so he could develop more strength and continue gaining some offensive consistency.

"If he shows he's ready to come up, he will come up," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We just want him to relax. We all knew we were asking a lot from the kid."

Dominguez played well in the early going before a slump dropped his Grapefruit League average to .190. He also struck out 10 times in 42 at-bats. Perhaps the greatest sign that he wasn't ready to be a regular contributor in the majors was that his defense started to suffer as well.

"We thought he was pressing a little bit," Rodriguez said. "He was taking his offense to the field, and that's not him. Eventually, we all know he's going to be in the major leagues for many, many years."

Before he got hurt, Dominguez said he agreed with Rodriguez's assessment.

"I started swinging at bad pitches," said Dominguez, a 2007 first-round pick out of Chatsworth (Calif.) High. "It was like, 'Got to get a hit this at-bat. I haven't had a hit in a while.' Then that gets into your head. Mechanics get in your head.

"I had two errors on just routine balls. Probably if I was hitting, maybe I would have caught them."


•  Dewayne Wise, whose injured big toe all but derailed his chance to make the Opening Day roster, did not accept an assignment to minor league camp. He exercised an out clause in his contract and became a free agent.

• The Marlins released 2006 first-round pick Brett Sinkbeil, who made his major league debut last season and allowed three runs on two hits and walked five in three games (two innings). In five minor league seasons, Sinkbeil was 19-25, 4.83 with 162 walks and 277 strikeouts in 430 innings.