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Jorge Cantu just happy to be with the club

Jorge Cantu is one happy camper .

It was December. Jorge Cantu was out of work and his phone wasn't ringing.

''I didn't know where my career was heading. I had no idea,'' Cantu said. 'I'm thinking, `Worse comes to worse, there's always Japan or China.' You've got to look for new horizons.''



On Jan. 4, the Marlins rolled the dice on Cantu, adding him to their mix of candidates enlisted to replace Cabrera at third base.

Cantu not only won the job in spring training, but he also has convinced the Marlins that they made the right decision.


With a .289 average and three home runs, Cantu hasn't erased images of Cabrera at the plate. And his fielding, as he noted, ``is a work in progress.''

" in progress"...that's being kind to one's self.  It reminds of the belief that when one dies, the person is the one who judges the results of their life.  Always a favorite of mine since, if true, I plan to go pretty easy on myself in a few many areas.

Cantu will be a work in progress when the first five rows behind first base don't have to bring their gloves to the game for protection.  Until that point, he is just a lump of coal hoping to be diamond one day in the field.  But that doesn't mean he won't get there.

In the meantime, while Cantu is swinging the bat well and trying to learn to play defense, he is very happy to be aboard ship.

''I love this team,'' Cantu said Sunday in Milwaukee shortly before the Marlins won the series two games to one. ``This team hustles, day in and day out. Look at the way we're playing. We're in first place. Everything is rolling for us. It's a great feeling to be part of a winning team.''

I think I'm starting to see why the club chose Cantu in spring training and it ain't just the bat.