JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins are playing it safe with Marcell Ozuna, who is dealing with a sore right ankle. Initially, the center fielder was in the lineup Wednesday against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium, but he was scratched shortly before the first pitch.
Ozuna jammed his ankle while sliding into third base Tuesday against the Red Sox, and he wasn't in the lineup on Wednesday in a game Miami lost, 4-1. Manager Don Mattingly said that was for precautionary reasons.
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"It was more being cautious with him," Mattingly said. "Two slides [Tuesday], and he was a little sore today. He wanted to play, but it's just not the right time."
Ozuna had two hits Tuesday and both times he slid hard into a base, which led to him being replaced after the third inning.
The plan is for Ozuna to return to the lineup Thursday against the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium. Even though he didn't play Wednesday, Ozuna took part in warmups with the team on a back field.
"He went through everything, he hit," Mattingly said. "He will be back in there [Thursday]."
With a week remaining before the club leaves Spring Training in Jupiter, there is no reason to take any chances. So Ozuna was given a second day off.
Chris Johnson replaced Ozuna in the outfield, and catcher J.T. Realmuto was slotted into the No. 2 hole in the lineup Wednesday.
Ozuna is enjoying a strong Spring Training, batting .379 (11-for-29) with two home runs and five RBIs.
During pregame warmups Wednesday, the Marlins had another mild scare when third baseman Martin Prado was shaken up while retrieving baseballs in the outfield. He stumbled and fell awkwardly.
But Prado still played against the Cardinals.
Mattingly said he will monitor to see if Prado is sore Thursday morning.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.