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Marlins’ Carroll taking ‘wall crash’ injury in stride

It may not have been how Brett Carroll wanted his first big league start to go since being called up from AAA three weeks prior, but life in the Big Leagues sometimes takes a rocky road.

The Florida Marlins outfielder and former Bearden High School standout was penciled in to start his first game, May 23, against the San Francisco Giants, playing right field.

But his day was cut short due to an injury while attempting to chase down an eventual home run ball from Giants centerfielder Aaron Rowand in the fourth inning.

“Ironically it was my first start since I have been back up for three weeks and it was a line drive Aaron Rowand hit over my head, and I was just one step too late on jumping and jumped right into the wall,” Carroll said.

“It probably looked like I have never played baseball before in my life, but it was just one of those things that if it was hit high in the air I would have been able to get back and time it, but I wasn’t able to.”

Carroll ran full speed and mis-timed a jump directly into the right field wall. The result was a separated right shoulder and two partially torn ligaments and a trip to the 15-day disabled list.

The ex-BHS Bulldog feels the recovery time could vary. But since it is his throwing shoulder he and the organization don’t want to rush the comeback and realistically he feels he will return to action no later than mid-July right around the All-Star break.

“Ideally it takes four to six weeks for ligaments to heal but I am kind of in limbo because it’s my throwing shoulder, so I want to make sure everything is ready to go before I try to come back,” he said. “I think I will probably be out for all of June and we are shooting for the All-Star break.

“Fortunately I did it in the Big Leagues because it could be a lot worse if I did it in the Minor Leagues,” he added. “There are pretty monotonous days with a compound of things that I will be doing for the next four to six weeks at least.”

Carroll, 25, was hitting only .063 on 1-for-16 from the plate with the Marlins — the only hit was an RBI triple. The former Middle Tennessee State standout feels disappointed by the lack of offensive production, but is confident that when he gets more opportunities he will produce the way he knows he is capable.

“I was kind of hoping this time I would get in there and string together a few days and kind of get my rhythm and everything going, but I was more in that bench role, pinch-hit role where I would come in late in the game or come in for defense,” Carroll said.

“I definitely feel grateful for that opportunity, but I am looking forward to when I can actually get in there and play regularly.”

When the injury occurred, Carroll had been with the Marlins off-and-on for nearly three weeks. After making the opening day roster because of an injury to starting right fielder Jeremy Hermida, Carroll remained with the Big League club for a week-and-a-half.

Once Hermida returned Carroll was optioned to AAA Albuquerque. He remained there for three-and-a-half weeks before being called back up to the Marlins.

“I really felt good, I was actually the Player of the Month in the organization and the Pacific Coast League Hitter of the Week,” Carroll said. “I was kind of hoping when I was fortunate enough to get called back up I was hoping I was going to get in there and contribute any way that I can. But I was more of that off the bench role which is great too, but it’s a big learning curve.”

In 18 games at Albuquerque this season Carroll hit .418 with nine home runs and 23 RBI. Once healthy again, Carroll hopes to pick up where he left off in AAA and eventually make the trek back up to the Marlins.

“Number one goal is to get back and be healthy,” Carroll said. “Number two there probably is a good chance that when I am ready to go I will probably get a good amount of at-bats in Triple-A and hopefully get back up [to Major Leagues] in September.”

Having seen the replay of his injury, Carroll said, “I was able to laugh at it. Not laugh at it because of it happening, but that’s all you can do.

“If I am going to get hurt, I am going to get hurt playing the way I like to play,” he added. “It’s just one of those freak things that happened. It’s part of the game and I am looking forward to getting stronger and bouncing back from it.”

Carroll acknowledges a long road ahead to become an everyday player in the Major Leagues. “I have really been disappointed so far in myself with the production I have lacked so far.”

However, “I am confident I can get in there and start to prove what I can do,” Carroll added. “It’s a little bit of a journey but that’s what it’s all about.”


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