The jury is still out on Matt Dominguez as a hitter, and spring training will decide whether the 21-year-old wins the starting job at third for the Marlins. But Larry Beinfest said that, given time, Dominguez could emerge as the second coming of another third baseman from the Marlins' past, Mike Lowell, and that similarities between the two players are already evident.
"Look for the quickness of the hands," Beinfest said in an informal sit-down chat with reporters inside his office on Wednesday. "Just look at his hands through the zone. It'll remind you of Mike Lowell. Mike's hands always stood out to me. He was a handsy kind of hitter. You can see how quick they were, and you can see that with Matt."
Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, said the comparisons don't end there.
"A lot of things about (Dominguez) will remind you of Mike Lowell," Beinfest said. "The confidence over at third base....it's just the ease and the way he plays the position. It reminds you of Mike in a lot of ways. Mike didn't run well. Matt doesn't run well. But they have good first-step quickness. The hands are soft."
Defensively, Beinfest said Dominguez is already major league ready. The big question surrounds his bat, and whether he can handle big-league pitching. Beinfest said he'll pay more attention to appearance than raw numbers when Dominguez auditions this spring.
"I want to see the at bats," Beinfest said. "I want to see pitch recognition. I want to see fouling off pitches, taking some walks...to have good quality at bats. The outcome will be the outcome, whether it's a hit or an out. But we're looking at approach, his comfort level. We're gping to look at the quality of the at bats early on rather than the outcome, and his ability to be comfortable against major league pitching. There's no worry on the defensive side."
-- Marlins president David Samson said Major League Baseball was aware of the scheduling conflict this summer's U2 concert would pose but went ahead and scheduled a home series there anyway against the Seattle Mariners. Because of that conflict, that series will shift to Seattle on June 24-26. Samson said the Marlins even asked the league if they could be paired with an AL East team, instead of one from the AL West, to ease the travel hardship. The Marlins could have potentially switched such a series to Puerto Rico. But, due to the traveling logistics with the Mariners, the league couldn't do that.
"When they scheduled Seattle to come here, they knew it would have to be moved," Samson said. "The problem is it's a complicated schedule. The only thing left was to play in Seattle. it was literally the perfect storm of scheduling impossibility."
The Marlins will bat last as the "home" team at Seattle's Safeco Field, and NL rules will be in effect (i.e., no designated hitter).
"Listen, do I think this puts us at a competitive disadvantage?" Samson asked. "I do not. Our team will play just as well batting last in Seattle as they play batting last at Sun Life."