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Marlins’ Jon Berti closing in on stolen base title. Plus updates on Wendle, Garcia

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 9/20/2022 Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald

The National League stolen base title in nearly in Jon Berti’s grasp.

The Miami Marlins’ speedy utility infielder enters Tuesday with an MLB-leading 36 stolen bases despite only playing in 88 games.

The next closest to him in the National League? The St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman, who has 31 stolen bases in 143 games.

Should Berti close out the season with the most stolen bases in the NL, he would become the sixth Marlins player to take home the Lou Brock Award (given to the NL’s stolen base leader each season).

The group he would join: Dee-Strange Gordon (2015 and 2017 with the Marlins as well as 2014 with the Dodgers), Juan Pierre (2003 as well as 2001 with the Rockies), Luis Castillo (2002 and 2000), Quilvio Veras (1995) and Chuck Carr (1993).

Berti also needs just four more stolen bases to become the 10th player in Marlins history with 40 stolen bases in a season. He would join the five players in addition to Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria.

Berti’s ability to steal bases, however, starts with getting on base. The 32-year-old has a .335 on-base percentage that leads Marlins regulars.

“You can’t steal first,” Berti said in June, a month when he started 26 games and logged 18 of his 36 stolen bases while primarily starting at third base with Joey Wendle and Brian Anderson both sidelined.

And it’s not just about stealing bases. It’s a matter of going for the base when the opportunity presents itself.

“If the situation dictates and we have something to go on,” Berti said, “that’s when we’re going to push the issue, but if not I’m over there just trying to take pressure off our hitters.”

Wendle, Garcia updates

Infielder Joey Wendle was not in the starting lineup on Tuesday for a second consecutive game while dealing with “bumps and bruises,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Wendle also did not start any of the Marlins’ games against the Philadelphia Phillies while dealing with a core muscle injury.

“I want to be careful with him,” Mattingly said. “I don’t want to send him into the offseason on the IL or having to do rehab-type stuff. We want to make sure he gets back to 100 percent.”

Also on the injury front, outfielder Avisail Garcia (left hamstring strain) did running drills on the field under the supervision of a trainer. Mattingly said he remains optimistic that Garcia can return to the active roster this season.

“He’s doing fine. He looks good,” Mattingly said. “He’s running good. He’s obviously improving. The decision now is whether he’s going to play or not.”

Pitching matchup for Cubs finale

Left-handed pitcher Jesus Luzardo will make his 16th start of the season on Wednesday in the Marlins’ finale against the Cubs. He will be opposite Marcus Stroman, who Chicago is starting instead of Drew Smyly, who is dealing with shoulder fatigue.

Luzardo had one of his best starts of the season against the Cubs last month, throwing seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and just one hit and one walk allowed in a 3-0 win on Aug. 7 at Wrigley Field.

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