Observations from first Grapefruit League game
JUPITER, Fla. — For Dan Haren on Thursday, the box score didn’t necessarily reflect the performance.
Haren was charged with two runs on three hits in two innings. The reality is his defense didn’t really help him out, and he had some tough luck. Matt Adams floated a two-run single off the end of the bat into short left field in the first inning.
With better fortune, Haren wouldn’t have been in that jam. With one out, Jason Heyward reached on a single on a liner that deflected off Michael Morse’s glove at first. It was ruled a hit, but could have been an error.
Matt Holliday followed with a ground rule double that left fielder Christian Yelich lost in the sun.
Bad breaks aside, Haren admittedly isn’t as he’d like. One reason is he started his offseason throwing program a couple of weeks later than normal. His offseason throwing program was pushed back a couple of weeks due to arthroscopic left shoulder surgery in October.
“I usually start throwing in the middle of December,” Haren said. “When I went to the doctor two more weeks after the surgery, they wanted me to wait two more weeks to throw. So I took two more weeks of throwing off. I was still a little bit behind.”
Leading into Spring Training, Haren typically throws six or seven bullpens. But because of the surgery, he threw four or five.
“It could be why I’m not as crisp right now as I usually am,” he said.
* Many are wondering if Giancarlo Stanton is going to flinch on inside pitches. At least in the short-term it’s something to watch. Rightfully so, considering what he went through in September.
In reality with Stanton, what he’s going through right now is simply shaking off the rust. His timing is off. Give him some time, he will be fine.
* Hat tip to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for setting up pitches away to Stanton with hard-throwing right-hander Carlos Martinez on the mound. Aware Martinez was throwing 95-96 mph and it was the first Grapefruit League game, Molina took no chances testing Stanton inside.
Let’s remember this is Spring Training, a time for players to prepare. Some common sense is needed, and the veteran Molina gets it.
* Don’t be surprised if the Marlins open the season with eight relievers and 13 pitchers, compared to 12 position players. Ideally, the club would like to carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players. But the club hasn’t ruled out 13 pitchers.
Why? Brad Hand is out of options and Andrew McKirahan is a Rule 5 pick. The two lefties will be given every chance to make the club. If necessary, Miami may keep them both. If Hand doesn’t win a rotation spot, he could be used in the ‘pen. Yes, Miamni might actually carry three lefty relievers, Mike Dunn, Hand and McKirahan.
Right now it is also speculatives. Still a long way to go in camp.
— Joe Frisaro