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The Marlins Spring Training begins

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The first workout with the pitchers and catchers is always special, and this year wasn't any different.

To assist pitchers in tossing to locations, pitching coach Mark Wiley has adopted a throwing aid that simulates the strike zone.

On the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium are stations of six mounds lined up in a row. In front of each catcher is a series of strings configured to create a strike zone.

Invariably, a string or two will be clipped and torn by a pitch. In his throwing session, reliever Lee Gardner inadvertently threw one pitch that completely wiped out the top strand at his throwing station.

After Gardner downed one of the stations, catcher Matt Treanor, who was at another mound, quipped: "Five more to go."

"I hit the metal pole," Gardner said. "I got in one lucky shot."

The station was repaired, and after making light of the situation, Gardner praised the strings concept.

"It helps you visualize the zone," the reliever said.

Not be outdone by a relief pitcher, Scott Olsen made his mark on the first day.

Trying to work out a winter's worth of kinks, Florida Marlins left-hander Scott Olsen broke off a 58-foot curve that bounced in front of the plate and over the backstop.

Ah, the start of spring training.

Oh, if you worried about Gardner and Olsen, don't be.  They will be throwing it through the strings in no time.