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New Marlins Coach Dave Collins: On Bunting, Bonifacio and Small Ball

    New Marlins coach Dave Collins said he expects to see a shift back to fundamental baseball, with a greater emphasis on speed and bunting. That suits Collins just fine. He'll be in charge of teaching bunting and base running, along with outfield defense, in his new role.

    "I think you're going to see the short game more," Collins said. "I think you're going to see stolen bases. I think you're going to see those numbers elevate back to where they were before we got into this power game. I think you're going to see execution of the fundamentals of the short game come into play. Speed is going to be a factor again."

    Collins said he'll be spending a lot of time this spring working with Emilio Bonifacio and Cameron Maybin on their bunting. Collins believes Bonifacio, in particular, can become a premier bunter. Collins said Bonifacio has a tendency to put his feet in motion toward first before he's actually made contact with the bat -- a flaw that can be overcome.

 "Slow down, execute a perfect bunt, and then run," is what Collins said he'll instruct Bonifacio. "If you execute a perfect bunt, there's not going to be a play. When you have a tendency to hurry, that's when you're going to make mistakes. It's like when you hunt, and you put your eyes through the scope. You're still so you can see the target. It's the same thing when you're bunting. You're still, and you're using your top hand as the sight of the gun."


   Last we left off with the Marlins, they were celebrating -- well, perhaps celebrating is too strong a word -- their second-place finish in the National League East. Part of the reason for the excitement in the visitor's clubhouse in Philadelphia: Marlins players knew they were entitled to a sliver of the postseason receipts. For Marlins players, a full share was worth about $7,000 after taxes. And how did some of those players spend their windfall?

    BURKE BADENHOP -- "I needed a new laptop, so I said if we finish second, I'm going to get myself a MacBook. So when we clinched second, I was pretty happy. I also got some clothes for my girlfriend."

    BRIAN SANCHES -- "In the backyard, I put up  a building that has a stone fireplace and a porch. We have a pretty good sized backyard. It's got like a TV built over the fireplace, so we go out there and watch games."

    SEAN WEST -- "I got a DW drum set. It's all black and has five pieces. It's pretty much the most preferred drum set among all professional drummers."

BRETT CARROLL -- "I reinvested it into my offseason training. I bought a mountain bike, a Giant. It's full suspension. I just had some trails my trainer and I would do near my house."

    CAMERON MAYBIN -- "My sister is going to college next fall and I put the money into her college account."

    ANIBAL SANCHEZ -- "I used it to hire a nutritionist and ended up losing 30 pounds."


    The Winter Olympics aren't a hot topic inside the Marlins clubhouse, but a couple of pitchers on the club have a strong rooting interest. Rick VandenHurk enjoys discussing the success of the Dutch speed skaters while Chris Leroux cheers for anything Canadian. After all, VandenHurk is from The Netherlands while Leroux is from north of the border.

Leroux said he even tried his hand at curling in his grade school gym class, but said he was especially gifted at the game.

"I might be Canadian," Leroux said, "but I'm not a curler."


Reliever Derrick Turnbow has always liked to wear his hair long, shaggy and unkempt. But, per club policy, he'll be seeing a barber on Monday. Turnbow said he was unaware of the policy when he signed a minor-league contract with the Marlins and, jokingly, said he might consider looking into a possible breach of contact.

"They just told me today," Turnbow said of the team's hair policy. "I'll have to get my balance back in order."