The very long wait for actual Marlins baseball games to begin came to an end yesterday when the Marlins 'B-team' took down Florida International University by a score of 7-2 in their first exhibition game of the spring. Brad Hand started for Miami and threw a perfect first inning. Justin Nicolino gave up two hits and the only two runs that FIU scored in the one inning that he pitched. At the plate, Cole Gillespie, Don Kelly, and Reid Brignac each recorded two hits. Most of the Marlins starters are expected to start in today's game against the University of Miami.
During the Marlins exhibition game with FIU, the 2:25 countdown clock was used to the surprise of Manager Mike Redmond. Redmond told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that he was not aware that the clock was going to be used before Grapefruit League play begins. Redmond also said that throughout the game the Marlins were ready to go with about with about 30-40 seconds remaining on the clock.
A few days after announcing his retirement from baseball, former Marlin Juan Pierre made a guest appearance at Marlins Park. Pierre spoke to reporters and hinted at being interested in a possible role in the Marlins organization sometime in the future.
After hosting a college football bowl game in late December, the Marlins are interested in hosting a professional hockey game at Marlins Park sometime in the future. With most outdoor hockey games being between two rivals, or teams within the same state, it could end up being the Tampa Bay Lighting versus the Florida Panthers.
The Marlins bullpen has some question marks heading into the season after some debatable moves were made this offseason. The tight budget that the Marlins are operating on, which caused them to not be able to land 'K-Rod' or Rafael Soriano, could be as a result of mishandling their allocation of money to the bullpen.
ESPN Baseball Insider Buster Olney is one of the first national writers to jump on the Marlins bandwagon:
Right now, leaning toward picking for the NL playoffs: Nationals, Pirates, Dodgers division winners, Cardinals, Marlins wildcard teams.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 1, 2015
Around the League
The renovations of Wrigley Park are on schedule and the new bleacher sections should be completely finished by mid-June.
Entering his second full-season in the majors, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is looking to improve upon a rough rookie season.
After signing him to a 6-year, $155 million contract in the offseason, the Chicago Cubs officially named John Lester as the Opening Day starter.
The Phillies lost to a Division-II college team in their first exhibition game. To be fair, University of Tampa is the Number 1 ranked team in Division-II.
A favorite for National League Rookie of the Year in 2015, the Cubs's Jorge Soler looks to have the makings of a future all-star.
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