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LET THE GAMES BEGIN -- HURRICANES IN THE HOUSE


  Not exactly ideal weather for the Marlins' kickoff game with UM. Chilly and very windy it is here this morning at Roger Dean Stadium. But the sun's out and all systems are go for the 3 p.m. first pitch.

  Ricky Nolasco is on the hill for the Marlins and will be followed to the mound by Ryan Tucker, Jay Voss, Kris Harvey, Jay Buente, Hunter Jones and Matt Peterson. Here's some upcoming pitching info as we look ahead to the Grapefruit League slate:

  Thursday (vs. Nationals): Anibal Sanchez gets the start. Rick VandenHurk, Taylor Tankersley, Seth McClung, Scott Strickland, Dan Meyer and Tim Wood are also scheduled.

  Other upcoming starters: Friday vs. Mets (Chris Volstad), Saturday vs. Cardinals (Josh Johnson), Sunday vs. Cardinals (Sean West).

  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

  The Marlins won the Grapefruit League "title":in 2006 and, as a reward, rookie manager Joe Girardi received a bag of grapefruit from club owner Jeffrey Loria. After which, the Marlins got off to a 11-31 start and Loria gave Girardi the heave-ho at season's end.

  So don't put a lot of stock into wins and losses and spring training standings. Right? Or is there a correlation between spring and regular season performance? After all, the New York Yankees DID win last year's Grapefruit League AND World Series titles. (The Marlins did as well in 1997).

  Did a little quick research this morning and here's what I found: More often than not, how the Marlins perform in the spring matches up with how they do during the real season. The Marlins have had losing records in 12 spring trainings and nine of those years the losing continued into the regular season. Of the five Marlins teams that posted winning records in spring training, three continued their winning ways into the season.

  MIGUEL CABRERA'S ISSUES BEGAN WITH MARLINS

 Former Big Fish Miguel Cabrera, fresh out of alcohol rehab, is telling reporters (read here) up in Lakeland that he started feeling pressure to perform when the Marlins brought him up during the 2003 season.

   CORRECTION

Turns out Chris Coghlan made out better on his contract than was first reported. Instead of the $450,000 figure that was reported Tuesday, the Marlins will pay their National League Rookie of the Year winner $475,000 this season.

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