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The Abercrombie Experiment

Reggie has yet to reach anywhere near the talent he possesses as a player.  But that doesn't mean the organization is ready to give up hope.

The Marlins have turned out better, sooner, than most could have imagined, for one simple reason: Their rookies, especially their young pitchers, have performed beyond all reasonable expectations.

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Of the rookies who have remained with the club from Opening Day, only Abercrombie has struggled throughout.

Only two major-league center fielders with as many as 200 at-bats have hit worse than his .215 average. No center fielder has committed more errors than his five. He has been caught stealing almost as many times (four) as he has been successful (five). And he has struck out at a rate of about once in every three at-bats.

Despite all that, the Marlins have refused to give up on him. ''I've said all along, Reggie is a work in progress,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ``We want to see him develop under our eyes.''

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Abercrombie hasn't started any of the past five games, with Alfredo Amezaga, a utility infielder for most of his playing career, being used in center. The Marlins also have put Cody Ross out there. On Sunday, when Girardi ordered a double-switch to start the ninth inning, he went with Amezaga for defense instead of Abercrombie.

''We've been working with Reggie on some defensive things,'' Girardi said. ``There are going to be times when he plays a lot and there are going to be times when he doesn't play much. But the thing is, we see improvement and hard work from him.''

As long as Reggie continues to work hard, he will be given the chance to blossom.  I expect Alfredo and Ross will log most of the innings in center field for some time.  But all that means is the coaches are working with Abercrombie and it allows him to work on aspects of his game without the added pressure of performing in a game situation.

Reggie has way too much untapped potential to write him off at this point in his career.  Will he come around?  Who knows.  But someone with that much speed and power should be given every opportunity to develop their raw talent and it is more effective to do it under guidance of the best coaches in the organizaion.