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Fresh Fish News, 3/24/19: Roster spots still up for grabs, the streak is over, Marlins Park updates

With Spring Training coming to a close, the Marlins look to roll into the regular season on a high note.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Mets Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day for your Miami Marlins is less than a week away and there were many stories over the past week to get caught up on. Enjoy these links from Fish Stripes and elsewhere.

Latest Roster Moves and Rumors

In what Marlins manager Don Mattingly called “easily our toughest decision,” Hialeah native and fan favorite Peter O’Brien has been optioned to Triple-A.

O’Brien impressed as a 2018 September call-up, slashing .273/.338/.530 with four home runs in 22 games. He was among the team leaders with 11 runs batted in this spring, though he wasn’t as consistent as hoped (.220/.353/.390, 37.3 percent strikeout rate). The Marlins are expected to go with Garrett Cooper as the Opening Day right fielder instead.

On Saturday, Harold Ramirez, Bryan Holaday and Pedro Alvarez each had the right to opt out of their minor league deals. Ramirez decided to stay, while Holaday and Alvarez will look to pursue opportunities with other organizations. Holaday’s decision opens the door for Chad Wallach to make the major league roster as backup catcher.

Mattingly says the Marlins will not announce the entire Opening Day roster until Thursday.

Minor League Shake-up

The following prospects were released this week: Matt Brooks, Zech Lemond, Brandon Miller, Sharif Othman, Sam Perez, Luis Pintor, Scott Sebald. Also, right-hander Michael Mertz retired.

Miller is the most notable individual in this group, viewed as a potential MLB starter when traded to Miami in 2017.

Spring Training Game Recaps

This past week saw the Marlins push their win streak to 11 games. That tied the 1997 team for the longest Spring Training streak in Marlins history.

All good things must end, unfortunately. The Marlins went 3-2-1 for the week and are now 15-12 overall with one last exhibition game to play.

March 17—Marlins 4, Cardinals 2; This game’s standout performer was Trevor Richards who threw six innings of no-hit baseball while recording six strikeouts against the St. Louis Cardinals. Starlin Castro and Garrett Cooper had RBI hits while Pedro Alvarez added a two-run HR as insurance.

March 18—Marlins 7, Nationals 1; Caleb Smith started this game and ended up winning it with a strong performance against the Washington Nationals (5.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K). Peter O’Brien went 2-for-3 with 5 RBI to go along with some offense from Austin Dean and a pinch-hit RBI from Cooper.

March 19—Cancelled

March 20—Marlins 6, Cardinals 0; Two hits was all that Pablo Lopez allowed in six innings of baseball against the Cardinals with five strikeouts. Neil Walker contributed to the runs with a two-run HR as well as Brian Anderson getting two RBIs and Lewis Brinson with an RBI single.

March 21—Mets 6, Marlins 0; Wei-Yin Chen was haunted by the long ball allowing three runs to score off two HRs against the New York Mets but allowing five runs to score overall. The Marlins offense was not able to muster up a run let alone more than six hits with only Martin Prado and Harold Ramirez having 4 hits between them.

March 22—Marlins 5, Nationals 5; Dan Straily allowed four runs (2 ER) in five-plus innings of work against the Nationals. The Marlins did not go down without a fight, though. They scratched across some runs to only be down by two in the ninth when Isaac Galloway homered off Kyle Barraclough to tie the game. Neil Walker also had a two-run HR of his own.

March 23—Astros 5, Marlins 0; Jose Urena went three perfect innings with two strikeouts against the Houston Astros but Caleb Smith allowed five runs on 8 hits in four-plus innings after that. The Marlins offense only got three hits, courtesy fo Jorge Alfaro, Lewis Brinson and Garrett Cooper.

Ichiro Suzuki Retires

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A fitting end to his Hall of Fame career, Ichiro Suzuki retired Thursday in his home country of Japan. He played the vast majority of his games with the Seattle Mariners, but brought his unique brand of baseball to the Marlins from 2015-2017. That tenure was highlighted by his 3,000 MLB hit.

Fish Stripes wishes Ichiro the best of luck in this next chapter of his life.

New Game Day Staff

Congrats to Gigi Diaz, DJ Fielo, Mike Biana and the rest of these passionate people who will be bringing new energy to Marlins Park in 2019.

Those ballpark enhancements are looking fine, by the way.

Fish Stripes Community Updates

Participate in our ongoing Bracket Challenge, where we’re trying to determine the fanbase’s favorite Marlins player (past or present). Elite Eight voting is underway on Twitter.

Also, have you heard about Fish Picks yet? Here is the introduction to our new “game within the game” for the 2019 regular season. There’s even a public leaderboard to monitor your progress in the competition for monthly giveaways.

This coming week marks the beginning of our polling project with FanPulse. If you are plugged in to this franchise and want to contribute, sign up here.

And finally, Thursday afternoon is the deadline to enter the Game of Thrones bobblehead contest.

Season Preview Series Continues

The staff published new pieces previewing the seasons of Brian Anderson, Jordan Yamamoto, Dan Straily and Drew Steckenrider. Great work by Ely Sussman and Jesse Nieves on these players.

Still several more on the way. The full series is housed here.

This is just the calm before the storm. Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more news on your Miami Marlins!