MIAMI -- Emilio Bonifacio hasn't seen the field since May 18, when he sprained his thumb sliding head-first into second base, and for the Marlins center fielder, his return can't come soon enough.
"It's kind of hard watching these games on TV," he said.
On Tuesday, Bonifacio will be one step closer to that much-anticipated return. The speedy center fielder underwent surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb on May 25 and will have the stitches removed Tuesday.
Shortly after removing the stitches, Bonifacio will start therapy to help regain strength in the thumb. The Marlins expected Bonifacio to be out four to six weeks following the procedure, so his return it still two to four weeks away.
Bonifacio hasn't done any physical activity with his hand but has been running to stay in shape while he's on the 15-day disabled list.
Despite missing the past three weeks, Bonifacio still leads the Majors with 20 steals. The next closest on the leaderboard is Cubs center fielder Tony Campana with 18. Even without Bonifacio, the Marlins still pace the big leagues with 62 steals entering Sunday -- 14 more than any other team -- thanks largely to the efforts of shortstop Jose Reyes, who is tied for third in the league with 16.
While the Marlins haven't slowed much on the basepaths in Bonifacio's absence, the team has missed his speed in the outfield. Since Bonifacio hit the DL, the Marlins have used a platoon of Chris Coghlan, Justin Ruggiano and the recently optioned Bryan Petersen in center field.
In Sunday's series finale against the Rays, Coghlan got the nod in center.
Gaby back in Marlins lineup from Triple-A stint
MIAMI -- After three weeks in the Minors to correct his swing and clear his mind at the plate, first baseman Gaby Sanchez was recalled by the Marlins.
The move came Sunday morning, shortly after infielder Donnie Murphy was designated for assignment by the team following Saturday's 13-4 loss to the Rays.
"I figured out a couple little things, nothing too major," Sanchez said. "Just going down there and playing and getting repetition and playing. That's it."
Sanchez was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans on May 19 after his production at the plate fell off significantly and his batting average dipped to .197. As a career .269 hitter before this season, Sanchez understood the team's decision to option him until he got back on track at the plate.
In 19 games with the Zephyrs, Sanchez was able to do just that. He hit .310 with a .494 on-base percentage during his stint in the Minors. He belted three homers and drove in 10 runs -- one fewer than he did in 36 games with the Marlins prior to being optioned.
"It's just baseball," Sanchez said. "You're going to get hits and balls are going to fall and balls aren't going to fall. Balls weren't falling for me. I wasn't getting any hits and went down there, just kind of cleared my mind up and did what I needed to do."
Sanchez was back in Miami's lineup Sunday, batting sixth and playing first base. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in his return.
With Sanchez back, the Marlins moved Logan Morrison back to left field. Morrison also has struggled at the plate and sat out the first two games of the series to work on his swing, but he was back in the lineup batting fifth. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI single Sunday.
The Marlins are in the midst of a five-game skid following a stellar May, and the team is struggling to get production from the bottom half of the lineup. If Sanchez and Morrison can get things going on offense, the pair could give the Marlins a much-needed boost.
"You're not going to win every single game, but it seems like the team is playing good baseball," Sanchez said. "The team was on a roll there, just a couple bad games in a row. That's going to happen."
Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.