The Miami Marlins kicked off their 2014 preseason with pitchers and catchers reporting yesterday to Roger Dean Stadium. February 16 marked the official first time that Marlins pitchers will get a chance to work with their backstops old and new, as the Fish are debuting new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia along with seasoned veteran backup Jeff Mathis and a slew of other names.
The Fish obviously have a tremendous pitching staff led by Jose Fernandez, who looks to remain humble as the new 2014 season begins. The Marlins' rotation is expected to feature a number of other anchors such as Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez along with some competition for the final few spots. Jacob Turner, Brian Flynn, Brad Hand, Kevin Slowey, and others are looking to fill two positions in the rotation, and this early time period away from most of the position players is a good place to start differentiating yourself from the group.
Saltalamacchia is on board to catch for the Marlins. The new free agent addition is a hard worker and is looking to set the tone in Spring Training by getting in early everyday. The Marlins are hoping he can get the offense going early as well, as the Fish were counting on his decent pop with the bat to help compensate some of the problems the Marlins have had in the past. The Fish will need Saltalamacchia's bat in addition to his work handling a young pitching staff, and all of that process began yesterday when the Fish first arrived in camp.
The rest of the Marlins will report for proper Spring Training on February 20. In total, 69 players are expected to be present at camp this year, and the Marlins will whittle down those spots to just 25 for the big-league roster. The full slot of Spring Training games begins next week, with the Marlins playing host to the University of Miami on February 26. The first game will see the Marlins face their traditional Roger Dean counterparts, the St. Louis Cardinals, on Friday, February 28.
Stay tuned here at Fish Stripes for all of your coverage of Spring Training 2014 for your Miami Marlins!