On June 10, 1997 the Marlins were 3Com Park in San Francisco to face the Giants. With only about 10,000 fans at the game they were in for a treat. Kevin got to work early, going 1-2-3 in the 1st on only 10 pitches. Leading off the 2nd inning for the Giants was Home Run King Barry Bonds who went down on 1 pitch, a ground ball to Luis Castillo.
Spring Training is in full bloom and baseball is here once again. That means the constant Giancarlo Stanton trade rumors are soon to get under way as well. The Marlins have recently shown a willingness to extend Stanton’s contract, but Stanton, who is under team control through the 2017 season, has not expressed a willingness to sign a long-term deal with the team, unless the franchise shows Stanton that they are headed in the right direction.
Mike Redmond is going with his projected Opening Day lineup this afternoon when the Marlins face the Detroit Tigers. It marks the first time this spring that Redmond is going with his "A" team, with only the addition of designated hitter Greg Dobbs distinguishing today's starting eight (Tom Koehler, not Jose Fernandez, is starting this afternoon) with the one he'll likely employ against the Colorado Rockies on March 31 in the season opener.
The Marlins and manager Mike Redmond will be looking for some clarity to an extremely muddled bullpen picture when Carlos Marmol makes his spring debut this afternoon. Marmol's first outing for the Marlins was delayed due to his return to the Dominican Republic to sort out visa issues. It's hard to envision any scenario in which Marmol doesn't make the team.
Carlos Marmol survived a shaky outing in his debut for the Marlins, one in which he walked a pair of batters before working out of a bases-loaded jam with a swinging strikeout on a 94-mph pitch in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Detroit. In other words, Marmol looked very much like the erratic pitcher who tortured Cubs fans for years with his lack of control and eventually led to his trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the 2013 season.
Anything and everything. It's what Jeff Baker is willing to do in his role as utility player for the Miami Marlins. Whether its playing first base – as he did Saturday against the Atlanta Braves – or second, third or even the outfield, Baker's adaptability makes him a commodity for manager Mike Redmond.
The Miami Marlins' fifth starter competition figured to be among the most compelling positional battles in camp. It's looking like a no-brainer. Tom Koehler continued solidifying his case Sunday, retiring 12 of the 13 Detroit Tigers he faced with no walks and four strikeouts. In seven Grapefruit League innings, he's allowed a run on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
It's about to get interesting for a couple of bullpen openings at Marlins camp. There are a number of candidates for what may ultimately be two or three spots.
Opening Day is 22 days away, and thus far, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is encouraged by what he's seeing in Spring Training. As expected, the pitching overall has been promising. The offense, which finished last in the Majors in runs scored a year ago, is showing signs. It may not be the most feared lineup in the game, but there are signs of improvement.
A frontrunner appears to be emerging for the Marlins' fifth starter spot. Tom Koehler, the incumbent, is certainly helping his cause. On Sunday, the right-hander held the Tigers in check for four shutout innings, striking out four, while allowing only a first-inning single to Miguel Cabrera.
The line drives up the middle, the balls blistered into the gaps and the majestic home runs are things of beauty in batting practice. But the hard work in the cages and on the back fields in Spring Training means little if the process doesn't carry over to the games. The mission in Marlins' camp is getting the players to replicate and duplicate. Copy the good points, and repeat them when the swings matter.
Giancarlo Stanton provided the "wow factor" with his monstrous solo home run in the fourth inning. But the decisive blow was delivered by Alex Avila, who lined a two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning that vaulted the Tigers to a 3-1 win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium. Avila, used in a designated hitter role, had left four on base in his first three at-bats. He came through in his final trip to the plate, ripping his double into the gap in right-center off A.J. Ramos.
Around The League
Plans to push Oscar Taveras so that he could make up for missed at-bats have now been hampered by a hamstring issue that forced the top prospect out of the lineup on Sunday.
Braves right-hander Kris Medlen walked directly toward the dugout after throwing a pitch during the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon's game against the Mets at Tradition Field. The Braves announced that Medlen has a right forearm strain.
Reds starter Mat Latos is progressing well enough from recent surgeries on his right elbow and left knee that he could be ready to open the season on the big league roster, manager Bryan Price said Sunday.
At Fish Stripes
Justin Nicolino will bring elite fastball command and a plus changeup to the Marlins rotation as early as mid-2014.
Miami Marlins utility infielder Ed Lucashas taken a "humble approach" in order to try and win a roster spot this spring. Lucas, who received significant playing time a season ago, is looking to win a bench spot with the squad.
The Fish Stripes 2014 Marlins Season Preview has gone over all of the team's expected position players. How much of an impact can we expect from them as a group?
2013 first-round pick Colin Moran will have a chance to provide the Marlins with a reliable bat at the hot corner in the future.