Marlins owner optimistic about '10

Attending the Marlins first full-squad workout on Wednesday was team owner Jeffrey Loria, who is upbeat about the 2010 season.

After finishing in second place a year ago, Loria says the playoffs are the goal. The organization feels the pieces are in place to play into October.

“I will say that we’re working off 87 wins last year, and I expect us to make the playoffs,” he said.”Whatever it takes to make the playoffs.”

The Marlins retained the nucleus of the squad from the past few years. Continuity is crucial.

“We’ve brought the core of this team back,” Loria said. “They’re well positioned to make the playoffs. We’ve got all the ammunition that we need.”

Among the topics the owner addressed were:

* Reaching the postseason for the first time since 2003, when the franchise won the World Series.

“I am hungry to win,” Loria said. “The only way to win was to do that [keep continuity]. We’re heading towards our new ballpark [in 2012], and I wanted to see us be more successful than we were the last few years. We should have been one of eight last year. I was disappointed at the end of the season. That’s all I will say about that. We have the ability to do it now.”

* The status of manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose job status came in question after the ’09 season. There were reports that the Marlins were interested in bringing in Bobby Valentine.

“I don’t even want to comment on that,” Loria said. “I know a thousand people. I talk to lots of people everywhere and if people blew things out of proportion, I can’t control that.”

* Continuity within the club, including players, coaches and manager.

“Fredi is the manager. Fredi is here. This is his fourth season. Fredi is here to bring the team to the next level.That’s what we’re hoping happens this year. We’ve love to see that this year, obviously.”

* The new ballpark in Little Havana.

“I was down there yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more excited or overwhelmed, or more impressed with how the building is coming,” Loria said.

“It will be something super special, beyond what you can imagine. What you see on paper. That’s been my commitment, going forward, from Day One here. I wanted to see this stadium done. That’s been all I’ve really wanted to see, along with winning teams, and hopefully winning a championship this year. As we go towards that goal of opening on 2012, we are building with the core of these player. We’ll see down the road what we need to add to it. But it’s going to be something that South Florida is going to be proud of.”

— Joe Frisaro



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