Marlins seek first series win

MIAMI — The Marlins got off to a hot start, beating the Rockies twice in two days at Marlins Park. After losing a tough one, 6-5, on Wednesday night, the club on Thursday afternoon still has a chance to capture a series victory.

For a team looking to gain some early season momentum, it would be a big boost, especially since it would mean they bounced back.

The struggles of 2013 have been well documented. Miami started off 1-9, and never got anything going the first two months.

In ’13, the Marlins’ first series win came from April 29-May 1, when they took two of three against the Mets.

What the Marlins have seen from the Rockies these past four days are a heavy dose of left-handed pitchers. On Thursday, Colorado went with its third southpaw. Franklin Morales got the nod.

The Marlins, meanwhile, have five right-handers.

Jacob Turner will make his 2014 debut in the matinee.

The first pitch is set for 12:40 p.m. ET.

Because Morales is on the mound, the Marlins will go with Jeff Baker at second base in place of Derek Dietrich, who got the start on Wednesday against right-hander Jordan Lyles.

Catcher Jeff Mathis also is getting the start in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.


1) Yelich LF
2) Baker 2B
3) Stanton RF
4) McGehee 3B
5) Jones 1B
6) Ozuna CF
7) Hechavarria SS
8) Mathis C
9) Turner P

Joe Frisaro

Thumbs up or tip of cap regarding reviews

MIAMI — Instant replay has introduced strategically delayed protests from managers.

The Marlins, like all clubs, are still feeling their way around how best to approach a potential replay challenge. The first close call for Miami manager Mike Redmond came in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Rockies.

Marcell Ozuna chopped a grounder to the hole at short, and Troy Tulowitzki made a sensational play. Tulo threw across his body, and his arching toss to first had enough zip to get Ozuna in a bang-bang play.

Immediately, Redmond and the Marlins bench plotted how to protest. It was close enough to give a look. So Redmond walked slowly towards first base umpire Mike DiMuro.

As Redmond moved slowly, Pat Shine, the club’s Major League administrative coach, was reviewing the play from the video room. Bench coach Rob Leary was on the phone in the dugout, communicating with Shine. Hitting coach Frank Menechino positioned in view of Redmond to delay the signal.

“It’s all so new,” Redmond said. “I’m used to sprinting out there on the field. Now, I have to kind of pull myself back a little bit. The key is to give myself a little time to make sure we see it and we get the call right. I felt like, ‘Man, I need to get out there, but I don’t really need to get out there fast.’ It was fine. We got the call quick.

“I think they had it six or seven seconds when I was out there. I thought it was close enough to go out there and at least talk about it.”

What the Marlins saw was what everyone else watching on TV already knew, Ozuna was out.

“At the end, he got the call right,” Redmond said.

Asked what he told the umpire: “I just said, ‘Hey, you got it, I’m outta here!’ “

The Marlins signs will be easy enough to pick up, and they are not being treated as a mystery. If the club feels the umps got it correct, they will flash a thumbs up. If they want to challenge, they will tip their cap.

Bogusevic outrighted

Brian Bogusevic is remaining within the Marlins’ system. On Wednesday, the outfielder was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. Bogusevic was the final cut, and since he was out of options, he was designated for assignment on Sunday. He could have sought an opportunity elsewhere, but instead opted to take the assignment, and he will join the Zephyrs.

Bogusevic was acquired from the Cubs for Justin Ruggiano in December.

While Bogusevic is staying, the Marlins lost the services of reliever Michael Brady.

Brady was removed from the 40-man roster on Sunday to make room for Kevin Slowey.

Lineup Wednesday

1) Yelich LF

2) Dietrich 2B

3) Stanton RF

4) Jones 1B

5) McGehee 3B

6) Saltalamacchia C

7) Ozuna CF

8) Hechavarria SS

9) Alvarez P

Joe Frisaro

Lucas set to have surgery on Wednesday

MIAMI — Marlins infielder Ed Lucas will undergo surgery to his left hand on Wednesday, and the procedure could push his recovery time back about a week.

A pin will be inserted in Lucas’ third metacarpal to make sure the bone heals correctly. The surgery, Lucas estimates, will bump back his recovery time about a week. So instead of missing four to six weeks as initially projected, the 31-year-old could be out five to seven weeks.

Lucas suffered a non-displaced fracture to the back of his left hand last Thursday, the day he was informed he had made the club.

The injury occurred in the eighth inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.

Donovan Solano was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans, replacing Lucas as the primary utility player.

Joe Frisaro

Same lineup on tap for second game

MIAMI — No sense changing a good thing. So Marlins manager Mike Redmond didn’t.

Once again, the Marlins are rolling out the exact same regulars in the same order as they were on Opening Night. It’s an early indication of Miami’s lineup against lefties.

The Marlins romped to a 10-1 win over the Rockies on Monday night, giving Jose Fernandez plenty of run support. They collected 14 hits, and pulled away from Jorge La Rosa and Colorado.

On Tuesday night, hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound for the Marlins. Colorado counters with lefty Brett Anderson.

The Marlins are facing lefties in three of the four games against the Rockies. Right-hander Tyler Chatwood goes on Wednesday night, and lefty Franklin Morales closes the series out on Thursday afternoon.

All five in Miami’s rotation are right-handed.


1) Yelich LF
2) Baker 2B
3) Stanton RF
4) McGehee 3B
5) Jones 1B
6) Saltalamacchia C
7) Ozuna CF
8) Hechavarria SS
9) Eovaldi P

Monday leftovers

According to Fox Sports Florida, Monday night’s TV ratings topped last year’s Opening Day by 78 percent. It was the most watched opener since 2011.

Marcell Ozuna became the first player to homer on Opening Day at Marlins Park.

Greg Dobbs had a pinch-hit single, giving him 96 career pinch-hits. That’s the most among active players.

Adeiny Hechavarria tied a career high with three hits, now done six times. The last three-hit game for the shortstop was on Sept. 4, 2013 at the Cubs.

Joe Frisaro

Ozuna steps into spotlight with lights on

MIAMI — Don’t always put too much on Spring Training performances. If you do, you may make some mistakes in evaluations.

Marcell Ozuna is a prime example. The 23-year-old entered camp as the frontrunner to win the Marlins’ center field job. But for much of Spring Training he struggled at the plate, and he finished with a .177 average in Grapefruit League play.

More than the numbers, Ozuna had some holes in his swing he needed to correct. He was overly aggressive and had his timing off. Until the final 10 days or so, the club considered sending him to Triple-A to open the season.

But in the final week and a half, Ozuna picked things up. He ended up winning the center field job, and on Monday night, Ozuna stepped up with a huge night, going 3-for-4 with a home run, single and double in Miami’s 10-1 win over the Rockies.

“We talk about it all the time, Spring Training is not always a springboard to the season,” manager Mike Redmond said. “I always talk about the lights. When the lights come on, you see what guys are made up. Today, O-Zo came out, and had a big night.”

Ozuna was a teammate of Jose Fernandez in the Minor Leagues, and the two are close friends. Before Monday’s game, Fernandez gave his buddy some advice.

“O-Zo and I have an incredible relationship,” Fernandez said. “We played in the Minor Leagues together. Today, I walked into the clubhouse, and I told him, ‘I just want you to do something, take it easy, relax.’ He’s incredible. His ability is incredible. It came out perfectly. I am so happy seeing guys have success. Everybody is working hard. Everybody wants to impress. We want to prove we’re a team, and we can play baseball.”

Joe Frisaro

Seeking a Home Opener reversal

MIAMI — Maybe season No. 3 will be a charm for Miami in its Marlins Park opener.

The first two, to say the least, were highly disappointing.

Marlins Park, a colorful retractable-roof facility, opened with great fanfare in 2012. The team sported a high-profile roster, and had carried high enthusiasm into Opening Day against the Cardinals. But once the game got underway, there was little to cheer about for Marlins’ fans. The Cardinals scored in the first inning off Josh Johnson, and Miami was held hitless by Kyle Lohse for six innings.

The Marlins first hit came in the seven on Jose Reyes’ leadoff single. St. Louis went on to win, 4-1. Miami was limited to four hits.

In 2013, the Marlins opened on the road, getting swept in three games at Washington. In fact, they were shutout in the first two games.

The Marlins went 1-5 on their first road trip, and faced the Braves in their home opener. Again, they didn’t do much at the plate. They lost 2-0, but managed just two hits. Paul Maholm yielded just one hit while striking out seven in seven innings.

The Marlins take on the Rockies at 7:05 p.m. ET, and look to provide their fans with their first home opener victory.

Jose Fernandez, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, gets the starting nod. Colorado is going with lefty Jorge De La Rosa.

Gates open at 5:05 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:20 p.m. ET, and the first pitch is 7:05 p.m. Dan Marino is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Joe Frisaro

Yelich set to lead off in opener

MIAMI — Christian Yelich, who made his MLB debut last July against the Rockies, will have the distinction of being Miami’s first batter in 2014.

The 22-year-old left fielder was tabbed to lead off on Monday night for the Marlins against the Rockies at Marlins Park.

Miami is sending Jose Fernandez to the mound, while Colorado is countering with lefty Jorge De La Rosa.

Because the Rockies went with a southpaw, manager Mike Redmond has adjusted the middle of his order. Lefty-hitting Garrett Jones, expected to bat cleanup against right-handers, is being dropped to fifth on Opening Night.

Casey McGehee is getting the nod to bat cleanup.


1) Yelich LF
2) Baker 2B
3) Stanton RF
4) McGehee 3B
5) Jones 1B
6) Saltalamacchia C
7) Ozuna CF
8) Hechavarria SS
9) Fernandez P

Joe Frisaro

Roof expected to be open for opener

MIAMI — With ideal weather in the forecast for Monday night, the roof at Marlins Park is expected to be open.

Roof expected to be open at Marlins Park on Monday night.

Roof expected to be open at Marlins Park on Monday night.

The temperature, according to, is scheduled to be 73 degrees when the game starts at 7:05 p.m. ET. More importantly, there is zero chance of rain.

Since the elements don’t promise to be in the way, the team has already determined the roof will be open. Obviously, if the conditions change, and some unexpected rain is on the horizon close to the first pitch, the roof could close. But as for now, that isn’t considered likely.

So when Jose Fernandez takes the mound, there will be fresh air and no air conditioning at Marlins Park.

The gates open at 5 p.m., and fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino will toss out the ceremonial first pitch.

As part of the pregame ceremony, the team will recognize Henderson Alvarez’s no-hitter on the final day of the 2013 season.

This will be the third season the Marlins are playing at Marlins Park, their retractable-roof building that seats 36,000.

Marino, of course, played at the old Orange Bowl in his early years with the Dolphins. Marlins Park stands on the Orange Bowl grounds.

The Marlins vs. Rockies will air on ESPN2.

Joe Frisaro

No surprises in Marlins’ Opening Day roster

MIAMI — Everything went as expected in piecing together the Marlins’ Opening Day roster.

All rosters had to be set by 3 p.m. ET Sunday, and the Marlins did so by making a couple of transations.

Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) and Ed Lucas (non-displaced fracture left hand) were each placed on the 15-day disabled list.

The club also selected the contracts of Kevin Slowey and Reed Johnson. To make room on the 40-man roster, Michael Brady and Brian Bogusevic were each designated for assignment.

Bogusevic was acquired from the Cubs for Justin Ruggiano in December. It is unclear if he will accept the assignment to Triple-A New Orleans, or seek an opportunity in an organization elsewhere.

The Marlins are carrying 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

Position players: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, Derek Dietrich, Adeiny Hechavarria, Casey McGehee, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeff Mathis, Greg Dobbs, Donovan Solano, Jeff Baker and Johnson.

Pitchers: Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, Tom Koehler, Steve Cishek, A.J. Ramos, Carlos Marmol, Mike Dunn, Dan Jennings, Brad Hand and Slowey.

Joe Frisaro

Depth improved at Triple-A level

MIAMI — By 3 p.m. ET today, all teams must finalize their 25-man roster. There will be no surprises for the Marlins. The biggest mystery will be which pitcher comes off the 40-man roster to make room for Kevin Slowey.

The Marlins have officially wrapped up a productive Spring Training, where they had some spirited competition at several positions.

Mananager Mike Redmond will have many more options to work with than a year ago.

From an organizational standpoint there is increased depth down on the farm. Double-A Jacksonville will get plenty of attention because it features top prospect, lefty Andrew Heaney. The Suns’ rotation will be fun to watch. Along with Heaney, it features Justin Nicolino, Anthony DeSclafani, Jose Urina and Angel Sanchez.

Those five will have additional time to develop because Triple-A New Orleans also has big league ready talent. In fact, a number of players on the Zephyrs already have appeared in the big leagues.

If Miami has an immediate need at a number of positions, there are candidates who are a text message away.

Reliever Arquimedes Caminero has the chance to be special. Based on performance, he made as strong a case as anyone to have made Miami’s Opening Day roster. But since he has an option remaining, he was squeezed out. Now, the hard-throwing right-hander becomes first in line to get called up.

Carter Capps is another hard thrower at New Orleans. He is working on refining his delivery, and he can do so without the pressures of the big leagues. At some point in the first half, Capps also could get the nod.

Sam Dyson and Chris Hatcher also have pitched in the big leagues.

This will be a big season for lefty Brian Flynn, who had his struggles in Spring Training. If Flynn steps up, he is a starting pitcher option with some big league experience.

Rob Brantly was the Opening Day catcher a year ago. Now, he will handle the staff and continue his development at New Orleans. Brantly has a chance to relax and polish his game. If needed, he adds immediate catching depth.

Perhaps the player to watch the most in New Orleans is Jake Marisnick. If he carries over what he was doing in Spring Training, he has the potential to become a star. He is a game-changer with his bat, speed, defense and arm. Even in his final Grapefruit League game, playing right field, he threw a runner out at the plate.

Marisnick, who turns 23 today, is motivated and focused. He’s had a long swing that has been dramatically overhauled. It’s a matter of continuing to get comfortable with it.

If he can show offensive consistency, Marisnick could give the impact of a mid-season trade if he is ready to be called up.

Another interesting hitter is Kyle Jensen, who possesses great power but hasn’t hit much for average. Jensen will see time at first base and left field.

So the competition created in Spring Training simply carries into the regular season. If players at the big league level are not performing, chances are there will be someone in the Minors knocking on the door to take over.

Joe Frisaro


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