09 March 2012
This has been an off season of change for the Marlins. The Marlins have added big names (they signed Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell), have changed logos, uniforms, stadium, numbers (Logan Morrison is wearing #5, Scott Cousins is wearing #6), and names (from Florida Marlins to Miami Marlins, Mike Stanton is now Gonzalo Stanton), and this week fans of the fish have had their first chance to see all of these changes. And what a week it has been. The Marlins have gone 5-2 in Spring Training games and notched another two wins in exhibition games against the University of Miami and Florida International at the new stadium. In those games the Marlins have used 73 differnt players including 30 pitchers.
The Marlins have gotten some promising play from some of there big name players as in two starts Josh Johnson has looked strong in 3 2/3 innings and has yet to give up a run. Meanwhile Hanley Rmirez seems to be on a mission to prove that last year was just an aberration as he has gone 7 for 9 with 2 HR and 4 RBI. The Marlins have also seen a strong start to the spring from Emilio Bonifacio, Omar Infante, Donnie Murphy, Brad Hand and Wade LeBlanc, though a player who is really starting to make a name for himself is backup 2nd baseman Donovan Solano. Solano is 6 for 13 with a run and 2 extra base hits.
However the Fish have also have some players that have some real rust to shake off before the start of the season. Giancarlo Stanton has started the spring with just 2 hits in 12 at bats and had to go to the hospital for x-rays after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. Aaron Rowan, who has hoping to make the team as a back up outfielder, and possibly a dark horse for the everyday center fielder job, is 0 for 12 so far this spring from the plate. Meanwhile Sean West and Alex Sanabia both had rough outings their first time pitching this spring. Sanabia gave up 6 hits and 3 runs in 1 1/3 innings while West gave up 3 hits, 4 walks and 3 runs also in 1 1/3 innings.
The Marlins big name off season additions of Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Zambrano have been very middle of the road thus far in the spring. Burhrle just finished his second start of the spring in Sunday, and while he has pitched the most innings for Miami thus far this spring he has given up 9 hit and 5 runs in his 7 innings of work. Carlos Zambrano in his first start had 3 strike outs in 1 1/3 innings of work, but he also had 4 walks, 3 hits, and 3 runs. Jose Reyes got off to a slow start in his first few games this spring, but after a three hit day against the Nationals he is now 3 for 11 with 3 runs and an RBI. Finally Heath Bell has done what you would expect from a player from Heath Bell. In 2 innings of work he has given up 1 hit, no walks, no runs and has struck out 3.
The Marlins have yet to have Anibal Sanchez take the mound since he felt tightness in his right shoulder last Friday (March 2nd). The Marlins are in no hurry to have him pitch, although he is still expected to be in the Marlins rotation on Opening Day (news now that he could make his spring training debut on Wednesday). However according to Manny Navarro if Anibal, who won his arbitration case against the Marlins only a month ago, hits another set back than the team could turn to Alex Sanabia or Wade LeBlanc to fill in his spot until his shoulder is 100%. Wade Leblanc seems to have the edge right now as he has been outstanding in his first two outings this spring. LeBlanc has given up only 1 hit in 6 1/3 innings and has struck out 8.
A couple of other Marlins players have also been dealing with some minor nagging injuries that have kept them from playing this spring. Logan Morrison had some soreness in his left knee, Greg Dobbs felt some tightness in his left hamstring, and Chris Coghlan felt tightness in his lower back. While Dobbs and Morrison are both all but assured to be on the Marlins opening day roster, Chris Coghlan really needs to get healthy soon as he is fighting this off season to make the major league squad as a back up outfielder.
However again it is important to keep in mind that we are still weeks away from the start of the season and at this time last year Matt Dominguez had a high batting average and it seemed like an almost no doubter that he would be the Marlins starting 3rd baseman, and we all know how that ended.
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