Hermida out indefinitely

Hermida out indefinitely

JUPITER, Fla. -- For Jeremy Hermida, a freakish foul ball has turned into a prolonged problem.

An MRI taken Friday on the 23-year-old's right kneecap revealed a deep bone bruise. The remedy for now is indefinite rest, putting Opening Day in jeopardy for the projected Marlins' starting right fielder.

The injury occurred on on March 17, when a seemingly routine foul ball deflected off his right kneecap in his third at-bat against the Orioles. He left the game shortly after, and he hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since.

Now, Hermida is preparing to rest however long it takes to get better.

"It's something that is out of my control," Hermida said on Saturday morning. "It's not something I did. It happened. It's a freak thing. There is nothing you can do about it but sit back and let it get better. I went through the whole stage of being frustrated about it yesterday."

A few days ago, it appeared progress was being made. Hermida played in a Minor League game on Thursday. He didn't play the field in that game, going went 1-for-5 with a home run on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

Encouraged by that performance, the team had hoped to get Hermida back on the field Friday in yet another Minor League game. The idea was for him to hit and play the field. But he woke up Friday morning with more pain in his knee. An MRI was taken, and he paid a visit to Fort Lauderdale to be examined by the team physician, Dr. Dan Kanell.

"The MRI showed there is definitely a bone bruise," said Hermida, who also had an MRI on Sunday that came back negative. "An X-ray wouldn't show that. The MRI was to see if something was going on behind the scenes that they couldn't tell."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't rule out that Hermida could be out a while.

"I think you have to be prepared for that, but I don't think we've made a decision yet about that," Gonzalez said. "[The knee] didn't do what we wanted it to do. ... The plan was to get some at-bats and gradually work himself to being ready to play."

The Marlins open on April 2 at Washington, and Hermida could begin the season on the disabled list, retroactive to March 23.

"Obviously, he's going to miss some time, and some at-bats, that's a concern," Gonzalez said. "If we don't start the season with him, when he gets healthy and he's ready to swing the bat like we know he can, he will come up."

The club's first-round pick in 2002, Hermida has being going through a rough spring. The lefty-hitting outfielder is 2-for-35 (.057) in 12 Grapefruit League games.

With Hermida out, the right-field options are Joe Borchard, John Gall, Cody Ross and Alejandro De Aza, who also is in the mix to play center field.

Hermida went through an injury-plagued rookie season in 2006, seeing action in 99 games because of a hip flexor ailment early in the year and a right ankle stress fracture in September.

While he's been clipped by foul balls off his bat before, he's never had one bounce up flush on his kneecap.

"I've definitely never taken one in that spot before," he said. "It's a freak thing that it happened in a bad spot. There is nothing you can do about it. It's just bad luck, I guess.

"They say bone bruises are weird. Sometimes they go quick. Sometimes they go slow."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.