9th: It's over. Sanches allows a run in the ninth but leaves a runner standed at second to end the game. Marlins now a hockey-like 1-1-1 on the Grapefruit League season.
8th: We're through 8 with the Marlins still leading, 3-1. This was the time last season when the Marlins would bring in Joe Nelson to close out the win. He finished with seven spring saves. Noticed he hasn't made an appearance yet with his new new, the Tampa Bay Rays. But a couple of former Marlins have gotten their feet wet in new digs. Mike Jacobs went deep in his first game with the Royals and is 2-for-6 with them so far. Josh Willingham (Nationals) is 1-3. (By the way, the Marlins are bringing in Brian Sanches to try to close this one out. (Heading down to the field now since day is almost over). Later.
7th: Nice running catch near wall in left-center by Jai Miller and, yep, he's first up for the Marlins in the bottom half of the inning. Just got nipped at first on a close play. Miller struck out in his only major league at bat when he was summoned to Oakland last summer. He's either the 44th or 45th such position player to strike out in only big league at bat. Was speaking this morning with Renyel Pinto, who is back from the stomach flu and was taking batting practice with the other relievers. "Five for five on sacrifice bunts," Pinto proudly proclaimed. Just looked it up and noticed he has two sac bunts in his career -- both of them last season-- but who's counting? He's 0 for 5 as a batter. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Pinto could make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday.
6th: Kensing on the mound for the Marlins and gave up the first run of the game for the Orioles. This is is a crucial spring for him, as it is for quite a few bullpen hopefuls. I have a vivid memory of his major league debut in September of 2004 when he was called up from Single A Jupiter as an emergency starter. He gave up back-to-back homers at Wrigley Field to Moises Alou and Aramis Ramirez and was done after two innings (five earned on eight hits -- ouch). Marlins 3, Orioles 1. Errors for Orioles 3; Errors for Marlins 2.
5th: Error charged to Dallas McPherson. That makes eight.
4th: Andino was charged with a throwing error. Spring training count: 7 errors, 2+ plus games. Leo Nunez also uncorked a couple of wild pitches but the O's were kept off the board.
3rd (bottom): The Marlins have taken a 3-0 lead -- their first of the spring -- on four consecutive singles to center by John Raynor, John Baker, Dallas McPherson and Jorge Cantu, and a Melvin Mora error on Cody Ross's ground ball. Raynor also stole third, prompting one wag to wonder out loud if that would irk Hendrickson. Remember last spring when Hendrickson got upset at the O's Brian Roberts for stealing a base in an early spring training game? Hendrickson and Roberts hugged and made up early on this spring. I've wondered whether Matt Treanor and Miguel Cabrera have done the same with the Tigers this spring. Treanor, as I recall, made comments last season implying that Cabrera was a negative clubhouse influence while with the Marlins. Now they're Detroit teammates. Hmm.
3rd: John Baker threw out his first runner of the spring, gunning down Felix Pie at second on a steal attempt. ***Former Marlins alert -- Mark Hendrickson has entered for the Orioles to pitch the third.*** If you're heading to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday to catch the Marlins, I have the traveling roster for you. Making the trip: (Pitchers) Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Kiko Calero, John Koronka, Carlos Martinez, Henry Owens, Taylor Tankersley, Michael Wood; (Position Players) Emilio Bonifacio, Jorge Cantu, Chris Coghlan, Andy Gonzalez, Wes Helms, Manny Mayorson, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Alfredo Amezaga, Brett Carroll, Scott Cousins, Jeremy Hermida, Cameron Maybin, Cody Ross, Michael Ryan, Michael Stanton, Brad Davis, Brett Hayes, Mike Rabelo and Kyle Skipworth. Notables not making the trip: Dallas McPherson, Gaby Sanchez, Jay Gibbons and John Baker.
2nd: Traveling secretary Bill Beck just walked by and announced that this is day 16 of 51 in spring training. "I could be off a day," Beck said, just to be careful. The general consensus here in the pressbox was that shortstop Robert Andino should have been charged with an error on Gregg Zaun's ground ball in the Orioles second. but it's spring training for the official scorekeepers, too. Andino could not glove a very fieldable ground ball to his left and Zaun reached. The Marlins have been a total mess defensively the first 2+ games. Ryan Tucker's line: 2 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 2 bb, 2 k.
1st: Dallas McPherson went down looking in the first, but at least he can still pay his bills, unlike some other clients of agent Scott Boras. Don't know if you've heard, but several Boras players (Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady of the Yankees and Scott Eyre of the Phillies) had their assets frozen because of investments tied to the Stanford Financial Group scandal. They've been told they'll get their money unfrozen but, in the meantime, they're having trouble paying their bills. McPherson is the only Boras client on the Marlins but told me this morning that he uses a different financial advisor than the one Boras provides clients and hasn't been touched by the scandal.
PLAY BALL: We're about to get going here. The players have taken their positions on the field. The Orioles writers were in the Marlins clubhouse earlier talking to former O, Jay Gibbons. He had some intereseting stuff to stay, but nothing inflammatory. "I'm not going to give you any dirt, nothing," Gibbons told them. By the way, if Gibbons makes the Marlins, he'll be the highest-paid player on the team. Only the Orioles will be picking up all but $400,000 of his approximate $6.5 million tag this season. Anyway, if you're interested in what else Gibbons had to say, check out Roch Kubatko's live blog ("School of Roch") at www.masnsports.com He's sitting four seats down, so his view should be a little different.
PRE-GAME: Alfredo Amezaga is in the starting lineup, batting nine and playing second. Everything appeared fine with his right knee during morning drills and his particiption in the World Baseball Classic is a "go" barring any further setbacks.
Here are the lineups:
Marlins: 1. John Raynor, lf; 2. John Baker, c; 3. Dallas McPherson, 3b; 4. Jorge Cantu, DH; 5. Cody Ross, rf; 6. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 7. Robert Andino, ss; 8. Alejandro De Aza, cf; 9. Alfredo Amezaga, 2b.
Orioles: 1. Ryan Freel, rf; 2. Felix Pie, cf; 3. Luke Scott, lf; 4. Melvin Mora, 3b; 5. Ty Wigginton, 1b; 6. Matt Wieters, dh; 7. Chris Gomez, 2b; 8. Gregg Zaun, c; 9. Jolbert Cabrera, ss.
-- A couple of other notes before we get going here: reliever Jose Ceda, who experienced tightness in his right shoulder early in camp, is throwing flat ground at 90 feet, will be extended to 120 feet in a couple of days, hopes to throw off a mound soon after that, and could see Grapefruit League action in a couple of weeks.
-- Pitchers Sean West (sore hip) and Renyel Piinto (stomach flu) are A-OK now and could see game action in a day or so.