MIAMI -- The Marlins are bracing to be without first baseman Justin Bour until perhaps September. Manager Don Mattingly noted on Friday that the high ankle sprain that landed the 28-year-old on the disabled list on July 6 has not dramatically improved.
"Honestly, you don't feel like he's going to be ready until September," Mattingly said. "I don't know what's happened, but it's not going anywhere. It's not getting better. It seems like one thing has led to another. If it's not one thing, it's another."
For weeks, the Marlins had been hopeful the power-hitting first baseman would have already been back. Bour, who's batting .268 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs in 68 games, last played on July 2.
"We just haven't been able to progress," Mattingly said. "I feel like we went backwards in a sense that we don't really have a timetable."
Bour continues to take batting practice and go through light drills, but he notes he is aiming foremost to just get healthy.
"It's quite frustrating," the first baseman said. "Coming into it, I didn't think I was going to be out very long."
The Marlins are making a playoff push, and Bour is the club's primary left-handed power threat.
"To be in a playoff hunt and to be in the meaningful games we are, and not be able to participate, has been pretty tough," he said. "It's beyond frustrating."
With Bour out, the Marlins have been mixing and matching at first base, relying on Derek Dietrich, Chris Johnson and Miguel Rojas, who started on Friday in the series opener against the White Sox at Marlins Park.
The Marlins are exploring other options as well, and one possibility may wind up being Alex Rodriguez, who played in his final game with the Yankees on Friday.
New York is expected to grant Rodriguez his unconditional release after that, which would make him a free agent to sign with any club.
As Bour continues his recovery, the Marlins got some news regarding reliever Bryan Morris, who threw off the mound on Friday.
Morris, who has been on the DL since May 26 with lumbar disk herniation and had surgery on June 1, is hopeful to be back in September. The right-hander opened the season in a setup role, and he posted a 3.06 ERA in 24 games. But he had been pitching with discomfort.
Right now, Morris is throwing free and easy, and later in the month, he could begin pitching in rehab games.
"It was probably the best I've felt in a really long time, body-wise and arm-wise," Morris said. "It's working more freely because my back feels good. It's good signs for me."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.