Just three days removed from the announcement of their minor league contracts with the Marlins, Yuli Gurriel and José Iglesias both started in Monday’s Grapefruit League matchup vs. the Mets.
Gurriel stepped to the plate three times as Miami’s designated hitter:
- Grounded out to first base in the second
- Struck out swinging in the fourth
- Singled to center field in the sixth
Yuli Gurriel finishes up his first Marlins spring game with this single pic.twitter.com/0BuOFeiTWz— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) March 13, 2023
Iglesias had two plate appearances from the leadoff spot and played his customary shortstop:
- Flew out to right field in the first
- Grounded out to shortstop in the third
Nothing is guaranteed for either Cuban veteran, but players with comparable MLB track records to them typically have opt-out clauses allowing them to elect free agency if they aren’t selected to the Opening Day roster. That likely won’t come into play—even acknowledging that they’ve declined since their career peaks, they fill roster niches as backup first baseman (Gurriel) and small-side platoon shortstop/late-inning defensive sub (Iglesias).
More so than defensive fit, the Marlins coveted Gurriel and Iglesias for their outstanding contact skills, a trait that the front office considered when making previous offseason acquisitions. Despite suffering yet another loss on the scoreboard Monday, this club has combined for the third-fewest strikeouts in Spring Training.
The Mets lineup was without World Baseball Classic participants Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso plus several other regular hitters. The depth guys still made Braxton Garrett work.
Garrett allowed nine baserunners in his 4 1⁄3 innings pitched. His fastball velocity was somewhat lacking—he topped out at 91.4 mph, which was his average four-seamer velo in 2022. The lefty mixed in all of his other usual pitches (sinker, slider, curveball and changeup). Garrett’s pitch count of 71 set a new game-high for any Marlins pitcher this spring.
Garrett’s final line (4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) was dented by the three-run homer that Dylan Bice allowed to Tomás Nido in the fifth (two inherited runners scored). Towering right-hander Johan Quezada also came over from minor league camp to pitch in relief and retired the only batter he faced.
It was not an egregious mistake, but Jazz Chisholm Jr. was unable to make the play on a 391-foot Tim Locastro liner to center field. Chisholm was indecisive about which direction to turn his body and came up empty when attempting a leaping catch at the last moment. Locastro turned it into a run-scoring triple.
Meanwhile, it continues to be a productive spring for Chisholm’s bat. He upped his spring slash line to .333/.385/.542 thanks to a single and a walk. The latter set the scene for Garrett Cooper’s prodigious two-run home run that finally got the Fish some offense.
Daniel Castano (starter), Matt Barnes, JT Chargois and Bryan Hoeing are all slated to pitch against the Astros on Tuesday. Action gets underway at 1:10 p.m. at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.