JUPITER -- It has come full circle for Reid Brignac. Brignac's first major league hit came against the then-Florida Marlins, and Brignac is now trying to win a spot on Miami's bench at the end of spring training. Brignac began his career with the Rays, and after being in camp with the Marlins believes the culture of baseball in Florida is changing.
"In both Tampa and Miami the culture of baseball is getting bigger," Brignac said. "In Tampa, it came with us being successful, and Miami last year looked good for pretty much the whole year. I think both teams should be excited, but especially Miami because we have a young squad that is fun and energetic."
Brignac, 29, is familiar with the Marlins after appearing in several Citrus Series games. While he had some success against the Marlins throughout his time in Tampa Bay, Brignac is excited to see baseball in Florida from a National League perspective.
"I've had some big games against these guys when I was in Tampa," Brignac said. "It is always a fun rivalry. To be on this side, it's great. I've loved every moment of my camp so far. There are a lot of great guys on this team, and great coaching. I'm really looking forward to what's next."
In 37 games with the Phillies in 2014, Brignac posted a .222/.300/.346 batting line to complement one home run and ten RBIs. His best major league season came in 2010 with Tampa Bay when he posted a .256/.307/.385 line in addition to eight home runs and 45 RBIs. Miami was attractive to him because of the available opportunity to win a roster spot.
"I like the integrity of this team," Brignac said. "It's a young team. It reminds me of my Tampa days. We were young and kind of came up together. We played with each other for a long time. [Miami] has that camaraderie, that chemistry already. The opportunity for a roster spot made the Marlins appealing."
Although he has only been in a Marlins uniform for a few weeks, Brignac sees several similarities between the successful Rays clubs he played on and the 2015 Marlins.
"Both have very good pitching, very good defenses," Brignac said. "There are a couple of superstars on the offensive side. It was pretty much the same thing in Tampa. We've got a good mix of older and younger guys. It should be fun."
Brignac started his career as a shortstop, and has seen time there this spring. Miami is looking for a well-rounded utility infielder, and while Brignac can also play second and third base and in the outfield, having the depth at shortstop to give Adeiny Hechavarria a day off may give Brignac a slight edge. Regardless, he is hoping his left-handed bat and experience will help him land a roster spot in the beginning of April.
"Here, I've played shortstop," Brignac said. "That's been my main position. It's like being back home. I'm really hoping I continue to play well and give myself a chance to make this team. I want to go through the journey with these guys."