Non-roster invitees starting to sign

For weeks, the Marlins have been making headlines with either high-profile trades or significant free agent signings.

As they’ve been among the busiest teams in the league on the transaction front, they’ve also been doing some under the radar work to fill out their Spring Training roster.

Over the past few weeks, several players have signed Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training, which gets underway on Feb. 17 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Some of the recent signings will compete for bullpen jobs as well as the left-handed bat off the bench position.

Victor Garate is a 26-year-old lefty reliever who made four appearances for the Nationals in 2009. Frank Mata, 26, is a right-handed reliever who appeared in 15 games for the Orioles in ’10.

A lefty reliever to keep an eye on is Darin Downs, a 26-year-old who was the Cubs’ fifth-round pick in 2003. At Triple-A Durham in the Rays’ system last year, Downs was 6-2 with 45 strikeouts and 17 walks in 40 1/3 innings.

A left-handed hitter to watch for is Chris Lubanski, a 25-year-old outfielder who batted .293 with 17 homers and 57 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas in Toronto’s system last season.

Lubanski was the fifth overall pick of the Royals in 2003.

— Joe Frisaro



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