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What we learned from first day of Marlins Spring Training

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Some news and observations from Marlins pitchers and catchers reporting to Jupiter on Wednesday.

Photo by Josephy Guzy/Marlins

Officially kicking off Spring Training on Wednesday, Marlins manager Don Mattingly met with media members in Jupiter. We also got a closer look at the team’s pitchers and catchers in action, plus a handful of other position players who reported to camp early.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Injury-free! Elsewhere in the majors, there were veterans already being ruled out for Opening Day and even some players being placed on the 60-day injured list. No such setbacks for the Marlins (yet).
  • Craig Mish of Swings and Mishes noted that non-roster invitee Matt Kemp is getting practice reps at first base. He has never played there during his 14 MLB seasons. Then again, Kemp’s outfield defense has been disastrous in recent years, negating most or all of his production at the plate. He figures to be behind both Jesús Aguilar and Garrett Cooper on the first base depth chart.
  • Brandon Kintzler is the leading candidate to work in save situations, Mattingly says. Although he stopped short of making a definitive announcement, Donnie historically uses a consistent closer for extended periods barring severe slumps or injuries. Sergio Romo did well as Marlins closer for the majority of last season before being traded to the Twins, leaving the team without any desirable internal options entering 2020—Kintzler has a far superior track record to any of them.
  • Opening Day starter is still to be determined. José Ureña did the honors each of the past two seasons, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be on the roster this time around. All-Star right-hander Sandy Alcantara would be a popular choice.
  • Thanks to Mari Montes for capturing footage of both the left- and right-handed deliveries of switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. The 34-year-old throws harder from the right side, but has actually had more major league success as a southpaw.
  • Long-haired Adam Conley emerged as a solid bullpen piece for the 2018 Marlins. Then, short-haired Conley showed up the following season and struggled from wire to wire (6.53 ERA, 5.19 FIP, -0.4 fWAR in 60.2 IP). Fans will be intrigued to learn that he reported to camp with his hair length in 2018 form.
  • Enough about the pitchers—Marlins radio voice Glenn Geffner weighs in on backstops Jorge Alfaro and Francisco Cervelli:
  • Alex Carver of Fish On The Farm snapped photos of just about everybody, which you can find on Instagram (@marlinsminors).
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Thursday is another workout day. The first full-squad workout will be on Monday.