MIAMI -- All signs point to Christian Yelich returning to the Marlins when he is first eligible to come off the disabled list.
Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the target date is for the 22-year-old left fielder to be reinstated on June 29, which will be the finale of a three-game series against the A's.
"If he continues to improve, he should be on pace to play when his day comes up," manager Mike Redmond said. "His day is up the 29th."
Yelich sustained a lower back strain in the first inning on June 13 against the Pirates. He tweaked his back while fielding Gregory Polanco's single to left to open the game. In the bottom of the first inning, Yelich grounded out to short and labored jogging to first base. He was immediately lifted.
Yelich is playing catch, and on Thursday, he took some dry swings with his bat and felt fine. On Friday, he hit off the tee for the first time.
When the Marlins go on their road trip to Philadelphia on Monday, Yelich will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he will ease into some game action. Most likely he will play at least one game on a rehab assignment with the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads.
Jake Marisnick was called up from Triple-A New Orleans, and he has played center field while Marcell Ozuna has moved over to left.
Yelich has six home runs, 24 RBIs and 41 runs scored, mostly as Miami's leadoff hitter. His slash line is .259/.342/.418.
"We miss him," Redmond said.
Ozuna's stats stack up with All-Star vote leaders
MIAMI -- In Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins have a bona fide All-Star candidate.
Stanton, the 24-year-old right fielder, paced the National League in home runs (20) and RBIs (57) entering Friday. Based on the latest round of fan ballots, the slugger ranks third among all NL outfielders, which means he currently has secured one starting spot.
But Stanton isn't the only Miami outfielder putting up numbers worthy of attention.
With less fanfare, Marcell Ozuna is posting his share of impressive power numbers. The 23-year-old has 12 home runs and 42 RBIs entering Friday, numbers that compare favorably to Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen.
Puig leads NL outfielders in All-Star votes, followed by McCutchen. Like Ozuna, Puig and McCutchen each have 42 RBIs entering Friday, and they each have one fewer homer.
"You see [Ozuna's] numbers, and you understand what he's capable of doing," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "For his first full season in the big leagues, it's really going to come down to the consistency of his at-bats. He's the kind of guy you never know when he's going to hit one.
"You feel this is a guy who can get you a big hit or a big home run, but he's young. He's going to strike out two or three times and then get a big hit."
In his first full season in the big leagues, Ozuna has had his inconsistencies. His slash line is .262/.309/.449, compared to Puig's .325/.416/.549 and McCutchen's .317/.427/.537.
"As for what type of player he can be? You see the numbers and realize what he can become," Redmond said.
Ozuna may not be an All-Star right now, but the potential is there to stack up with the best at his position.
• Brad Penny, who signed a Minor League deal with the Marlins on Wednesday, is already at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. The 36-year-old is attempting a comeback, and the Marlins are giving him a shot. Initially, he will get some work in at Jupiter, and in time, he should join Triple-A New Orleans.
"He understands," Redmond, a former teammate of Penny, said. "He knows he has to earn it. He has to go out there and pitch well. He understands that."
• Kevin Gregg, who started his second stint with the Marlins on Thursday, celebrated his 36th birthday on Friday.