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Miami Marlins morning news: Hand throws four shutout innings

Aiming for a spot in the rotation, the left-hander overcame three walks in the loss to the Mets. Plus links on Dee Gordon, reasons to attend games at Marlins Park this season and Opening Day festivities in Miami.

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Marlins News

The Marlins played split-squad games against the Mets and Cardinals on Tuesday. Against New York, Brad Hand threw four scoreless innings and Michael Morse hit a two-run homer. In Jupiter, Dee Gordon picked up an RBI against St. Louis. The Fish dropped both contests.

The Marlins gave up a lot to obtain the services of Dee Gordon this offseason, as they parted with Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher among others in the trade for the speedster. Miami did upgrade second base by acquiring Gordon and he will provide a spark to the Marlins' lineup, but don't put money on a 2003 Juan Pierre-type season.

The 2015 Marlins could be special. On paper, it looks like the team could seriously contend for a playoff spot. With that being said, there are many reasons to attend a Marlins home game this year.

Opening Day is now only a few weeks away(!). The Fish take on the Braves on April 6th at 4:10 ET, but team president David Samson advises fans to be in their seats nearly an hour early to witness "cool things" on the field.

Miami continued it's roster shaping by optioning Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley and Matt Ramsey to Triple-A New Orleans. The Marlins now have fifty players still in big-league camp after starting with sixty-six.

Around the League

Angels outfielder Mike Trout topped the list of most coveted players by big-league managers, beating out Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey and our very own superstars Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez.

That outcome was unsurprising after watching Trout club two home runs in a rout of the Rockies on Tuesday. He is batting .545 this spring.

The Tommy John surgery saga continues, with more and more pitchers having to undergo the procedure. Fortunately, the latest pitcher to have the procedure, Yu Darvish, is now successfully on the road to recovery.

Agent Scott Boras is making headlines again by urging the Cubs to keep his client, Kris Bryant, on the Opening Day roster. If Bryant is not on the Opening Day roster, he is under Cubs control for an additional season. This may be the underlying motive behind Boras' comments, as he prefers his clients to hit the open market early.

At Fish Stripes

David Phelps and the hybrid pitcher, part 1 - Fish Stripes

David Phelps is performing admirably this spring in his quest to be a factor in the Marlins' rotation until Jose Fernandez returns. If he is unsuccessful, it is very probable that he will pitch out of the bullpen. Phelps could be an example of a new breed of pitcher - the hybrid.

Jeffrey Loria and the issue of trust - Fish Stripes

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has had to try and win over the many disgruntled fans he has upset in the last ten years. He has made a good start by re-signing Stanton and increasing the payroll. Is this enough to trust him and his decisions again?

Miami Marlins still rebuilding? Reed Johnson says NO. - Fish Stripes

The veteran bench-player believes that this is the Marlins' year to shine and prove the critics wrong. He wants to win, and opted to come back to Miami to do so.

Miami Marlins morning news: Investment in international players paying off - Fish Stripes

Marcell Ozuna and Jose Urena highlight a crop of international talent that has been the result of increased scouting efforts in the Caribbean in particular.