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Center Field starting to come in to focus

The center field position has two main candidates but others are still in the mix.

...the Marlins narrowed their starting center-field candidates to Alex Sanchez and Eric Reed.

Reed, who was not on the traveling roster Wednesday, might be the front-runner because of his .364 batting average this spring. Last spring, he hit .333 and started in center on opening day. But Reed platooned with Abercrombie and didn't hit, finishing with an .098 average in 41 at-bats. On May 17, he was optioned to Class AAA Albuquerque, for which he batted .303.

If Reed can get comfortable in the majors, he will be the man.  But that is a big if and it will have to be proven.  It wouldn't surprise me if he is the starting center fielder, once again, on opening day.  Hopefully the Marlins won't start out the season the way they did last year causing the manager to panic and immediately start readjusting the personal.

I can not fathom why Alex Sanchez is also in the running.

Sanchez went 2-for-5 Wednesday to raise his average to .222. He made some nice defensive plays, although Gonzalez said Bo Porter, the team's outfield coach, will have to remind Sanchez to focus on making routine plays look routine.

"You don't get two outs for making those flair catches," Gonzalez said.

"We'll talk to him. Let's just make sure we catch the ball and don't worry about style points."

The AP recount of his catches calls them spectacular.  It is true that Alex Sanchez can make the routine turn into a spectacular looking catch, but that is the problem.  He isn't doing it to be flashy - it happens because he is either not paying attention to the hitter or he doesn't possess the skill level to make the routine, uh, routine.

It is a bit troubling when the routine plays turn into laid-out diving catches.  What will happen when a well hit ball calls for a great play?  I can tell you, Sanchez will be chasing after it as it rolls the wall.  Because there ain't no way he will be there when it lands.

While the main battle for center field is between Reed and Sanchez, there are others who could fill the void.

Gonzalez also said the team's "secret weapon" - utility player Alfredo Amezaga - remains an option for center field. Amezaga, who has worked exclusively as a backup middle infielder this spring, made 64 starts in center last year.


Cody Ross and Joe Borchard also remain in the mix, although they probably will make the team as backup outfielders.

If Borchard wasn't so good at late inning clutch pinch hitting, his name may have been a the top of the list to take over center field.