Back to basics for Marlins
JUPITER, Fla. — Perfect the basics is the way the youthful Marlins plan on competing in the competitive NL East.
With such a young squad, manager Edwin Rodriguez is stressing the obvious in Spring Training.
“Master the obvious,” Rodriguez said on Thursday morning. “We’ve got to throw strikes and make the routine plays.”
Marlins pitchers and catchers begin their Spring Training workouts about 1 p.m. ET on Friday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. The first day of camp is open to the public.
For eight seasons, Rodriguez was a Minor League instructor and manager in the Marlins’ organization. In his first Spring Training as a big league manager, Rodriguez is emphasizing the little things.
Also, the routines that will be in big league camp will also filter down to the Minor League levels.
Another objective in Spring Training is to teach players how to win close ballgames. Rodriguez said about 80 percent of all big league games last year were decided by one or two runs.
“Aggressive baserunning. Good situational hitting. Pitchers understanding the game situations,” Rodriguez said.”The outfielders throwing to the right bases. Keeping the double play in order.”
Rodriguez also said he has given all the coaches in the organization some homework over the next few days. He is asking them to write down ways to win ballgames.
“We want everybody on the same page,” Rodriguez said. “Especially playing in a division that is loaded with good pitching. You’re not going to see those guys in Philadelphia allowing a three-run home run too often. So whenever they give us a chance, we’ve got to score runs. A big inning off those guys is two runs.”
* From an injury standpoint, no Marlins are entering Spring Training with restrictions. Center fielder Chris Coghlan, who is recovering from surgery to his left knee, is full-go. But because he missed half of the 2010 season, he will be closely monitored.
“We have to be very careful,” Rodriguez said. “He’s in very good shape. But then again, it’s not the same as being in the game for six, seven, eight innings.”
John Baker (Tommy John surgery) will be active hitting in Spring Training, but he may not be ready to catch until sometime in May, Rodriguez said.
Brett Hayes (separated left shoulder) is fully ready to go. Donnie Murphy (dislocated right wrist) has been fielding, running and hitting. “We don’t want to overload him [hitting] early in the spring,” Rodriguez said.
* Being manager has its perks. Rodriguez now has two parking spaces. “I have two parking spots, and I only have one car,” he said. As a Minor League manager last year, he would get rides to camp.
– Joe Frisaro