Managed, along with the Sun-Sentinel's Juan Rodriguez, to pull Pudge Rodriguez aside during Friday's workouts for the World Baseball Classic, and the impression he gave us is that he's interested in a return to the Marlins, but only if he receives assurances of ample playing time.
By ample, I'm talking about a better-than 50-50 split with John Baker, something I just don't see happening.
Here's what Pudge had to say to us:
Pudge: "They've been talking to us and you guys know one of the things, what it is (playing time). I'm ready to play. To be honest with you, I'm in good shape. To be honest with you, I just want playing time and I think if that happens I'm going to have a great year."
I asked him: "How much playing time would you want? Like split time, equal time?"
Pudge: "No, no, no. I feel like I still can play everyday. Let's see. It's just a matter of waiting and seeing what happens."
Juan asked; "It doesn't sound like you feel you should have to go to spring training and have to prove to everybody that you're.....
Pudge: "No, no, no. I can be ready in a week, a week and a half. I've been playing here (WBC). I've been hitting. I played winter ball for a month and a half. Physically I'm in good shape, and baseball shape, I'm ready to go."
Juan: "Would you like the chance to, or is anything planned, to meet with Marlins people, Larry (Beinfest) or somebody?"
Pudge: "I talked to them and now they're talking to my agent. They've been communicating with my agent. But, as of right now, nothing's happening. They are probably thinking to have, I think, Baker to be the catcher. But let's see what happens. He's a good catcher. He did a good job last year. He came late and hit .300. As of right now, that's where they stand."
Me: "So I get this straight, you want more than a half-time job? You want to play most of the time?"
Pudge: "I'm ready to play. I'm ready to play everyday. I think i still can play everyday at a high level. It doesn't matter what happened last year. Last year is over, and I'm ready."