With Cody Ross out of the picture, and Ronny Paulino floating in Limbo Land, one can all but fill out the 2011 Opening Day lineup card for the Marlins. I'm going under the assumption the Marlins hang on to Dan Uggla whether or nor they work out a contract extension over the winter, and that John Baker returns to full health, though Paulino can't be counted out of the equation just yet.
The extremely young outfield will consist of Mike Stanton, Cameron Maybin and Logan Morrison. Average Opening Day age of that trio: 22. The infield: Gaby Sanchez at first, Uggla at second, Hanley Ramirez at short and Chris Coghlan at third. Catching: some combination of Baker/Paulino. The rotation should resemble the current cast of Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad and (pick one) Sean West, Andrew Miller or Alex Sanabia. The bullpen could undergo significanct change.
Maybin will make his Marlins return tonight, starting in center and batting seventh. But manager Edwin Rodriguez said he envisioned Maybin moving into the leadoff spot, perhaps by the end of this week, with Hanley Ramirez dropping back down to the third spot. We asked Rodriguez how he thought the 2011 order might look.
Said Rodriguez: "I see Chris Coghlan maybe leading off, Maybin hitting second, Hanley Ramirez hitting third, Danny Uggla, hopefully, he's hitting fourth. Michael Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, John Baker and Morrison. It could be Maybin, it could be Morrison, hitting second. I think it's going to be a very good lineup."
That's the prospective lineup for next year. By the end of this week, Rodriguez said it could go like this: Maybin, Morrison, Ramirez, Uggla, Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, Third baseman, Hayes, Pitcher.
ROSS ECSTATIC TO JOIN GIANTS....Ross was all bubbly on his first day with the Giants, telling reporters there that he "couldn't get here fast enough" once it sunk in he was joining a playoff contender. To read what else he had to say, click here for the San Jose Mercury News' report on the arrival of Ross.
MAKE-UP WITH CARDINALS....Players on the Marlins and Cardinals voted to make up their Aug. 8 rainout "only if it's necessary," said Wes Helms. But there's another catch. The only available date would be the day after the regular season, Monday, Oct. 4. And the Dolphins host a Monday Night Football that night at Sun Life Stadium. And the Cincinnati Reds would certainly frown on any attempt to have the game played in St. Louis. So.....the two teams are exploring neutral sites. One possibility: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Marlins: 1. Ramirez, ss; 2. Morrison, lf; 3. Sanchez, 1b; 4. Uggla, 2b; 5. Stanton, rf; 6. Helms, 3b; 7. Maybin, cf; 8. Hayes, c; 9. Johnson, p.
Mets: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Pagan, lf; 3. Beltran, cf; 4. Wright, 3b; 5. Davis, 1b; 6. Francoeur, rf; 7. Thole, c; 8. Tejada, 2b; 9. Dickey, p.