The Miami Marlins completed their first game of the 2013 spring training season, and it ended in a surprising 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Fish came out swinging the bats well in the victory, and they were led by an obvious name in Giancarlo Stanton and a surprise name in Rule 5 draft pick Alfredo Silverio. Meanwhile, John Maine put up a solid effort on the mound in making his spring training debut, but the day was not without losses, as the team suffered at least one serious injury.
Stanton, Silverio Shine on Offense
The Marlins got good contributions from an offense that is not expected to perform well in 2013. Giancarlo Stanton drove in two runs with an RBI groundout in the first inning and an RBI single in the fourth inning as the Marlins built up an early 4-1 lead. The Fish got that first run thanks in large part to the first major contribution by returning Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, who tripled in the first and put himself in position to score. Pierre also contributed by dropping a push bunt in the third inning that not only put him on board but also drove in shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from third base. Pierre did not record an out in the game before being pulled for prospect Christian Yelich
However, the best surprise of the day came from Alfredo Silverio, who functioned as the team's designated hitter for the game. Silverio went 1-for-4 on the day, but the one hit was the Marlins' first home run of the spring training campaign. The home run came off of former Marlins reliever Randy Choate, who signed on with the Cardinals in the offseason.
Maine, Pitching Yields Mixed Results
John Maine made his spring training debut with the Fish as well, but he picked up mixed results in his first outing with the club. Maine did go two innings and gave up only one run off of a solo home run by third baseman David Freese. He also struck out a batter and walked one as well, yielding an overall mediocre first outing. Given the team's numerous open slots, especially in the pitching staff and bullpen, every step on the mound for a potential rotation candidate like Maine is going to count. For what it is worth, his post-game comments (video at the end of the article) showed a player who was at least happy to return to decent form after a two-year major league hiatus.
The rest of the pitching staff also yielded mixed results. Seven other pitchers threw the remaining seven innings and recorded four strikeouts versus seven walks. The major culprit in this was Brad Hand, who walked four in two-thirds of an inning pitched while also yielding two runs. Hand's issues last season were all about the walk, and this year it was no different.
The Fish were not without their losses on the position player side as well. Catcher Jeff Mathis was pulled from the game in the fifth inning following a Matt Holliday plate appearance, as he received a foul tip into his right collarbone. It turns out that Mathis now has a non-displacement fracture of the collarbone and will be out six weeks. Mathis is expected to serve as the Marlins' backup catcher and occasional platoon partner to starter Rob Brantly, but it seems at this point that he will miss all of spring training and may not be ready for Opening Day. Kyle Skipworth replaced Mathis and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout and a walk.
As of right now, the Marlins are unsure as to who would take over for a backup role in case Mathis's injury lingers into the regular season. Skipworth and Jake Jeffries are the two catchers at the highest levels of the Marlins' organization, with top catching prospect J.T. Realmuto also present at camp.
Next: @ Boston Red Sox, Sunday, February 24, 1:05 PM EST