Supporting cast around Stanton

JUPITER, Fla. — The Marlins anticipate a deeper lineup will take the pressure off Giancarlo Stanton.

Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Casey McGehee and Jeff Baker were free agent signings the club hopes offers more protection for Stanton in the middle of the order.

At the top of the order, free agent Rafael Furcal was brought in to lead off. And Christian Yelich, who will bat second, is a promising 22-year-old who was one of the league’s top prospects last year.

With more weapons in camp, manager Mike Redmond noted Stanton will need to remain selective, and not press to do too much.

“Continue to be patient and look for his pitch,” Redmond said. “Last year, obviously, he felt like he had to carry the load. That wasn’t fair to him. I think he probably went out of the zone more than he will have to this year to try to get hits, and try to put the ball in play in situations. We didn’t have enough offense behind him. This year, bringing in guys like Jones and Salty, that’s going to help out a lot.”

Split squad lineups:

at Mets in Port St. Lucie

(Kevin Slowey starting)

1) Marisnick CF
2) Yelich LF
3) Baker 1B
4) McGehee 3B
5) Dietrich 2B
6) Johnson RF
7) Brantly C
8) Lucas SS
9) Barnes DH

vs. Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium
(Nathan Eovaldi starting)

1) Furcal 2B
2) Hechavarria SS
3) Stanton RF
4) Jones 1B
5) Saltalamacchia DH
6) Ozuna CF
7) Dobbs 3B
8) Mathis C
9) Bogusevic LF

Alvarez throwing

Henderson Alvarez is progressing from the right shin infection that is causing him to miss starting on Sunday against the Nationals at Viera.

Alvarez is playing catch, and he could be throwing a bullpen session Monday. If everything stays on course, Alvarez could be slotted into the rotation next Friday against the Cardinals.

Upcoming rotation

Brad Hand is getting the start on Sunday in place of Alvarez in Viera. The rotation shapes up after that with Jacob Turner going on Monday (vs. Houston), Tom Koehler on Tuesday (vs. Minnesota), Jose Fernandez on Wednesday (at Mets), Nathan Eovaldi on Thursday (vs. Boston) and maybe Alvarez on Friday at St. Louis.

Joe Frisaro

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