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JJ pitches simulated game; Edwin's pregame talk

JUPITER -- The Marlins are all set to take on the University of Miami here at Roger Dean Stadium at 1 p.m. Be sure to follow my updates on Twitter if you aren't listening on 790theTicket.

> Javi Vazquez will be starting for the Marlins and going just two innings. What does manager Edwin Rodriguez want to see from the 34-year old veteran right-hander?

"Command of his pitches," Rodriguez said. "We're not worried about velocity."

Rodriguez said that goes for all of his starters over the course of their first three starts. Rodriguez said having Vazquez on staff is "like having another JJ in the rotation." I'm pretty sure Rodriguez meant that in terms of Vazquez's leadership and not his ability. 

Vazquez and Rodriguez have had a long relationship because they're from the same hometown in Puerto Rico. Rodriguez began scouting Vazquez when he was 16 and signed his older brother catcher Carlos Vazquez to a minor league deal with the Rays.

> Marlins ace Josh Johnson just got done throwing two innings of a simulated game on a backfield behind Roger Dean Stadium.

"The first inning didn't go as well, but the second inning was good," Johnson said. "I finally calmed down, got rid of those first inning jitters. I was trying to do too much in the first session. But the second was good."

Johnson said he wasn't throwing at full velocity. But he's not worried about it. "Last bullpen I felt like I was throwing 100 miles per hour. Today, I felt like I was throwing about 80. It's just about how your body feels and stuff. I'm not going to worry about velocity. I'm going to let it happen, let it go."

> Rookie third baseman Matt Dominguez, 21, will end up playing longer than the other projected opening day starters throughout camp. As we've state many times, the Marlins very much want Dominguez to make the team and will be really patient.

They're pulling out all the stops to make sure he has good veteran influences around him. Dominguez's locker is next to Josh Johnson's. Every time Dominguez has taken BP, he's been surrounded by either catcher John Buck or veteran third baseman Wes Helms

Would the Marlins take less offense from Dominguez for his defense? "If other things workout, we can," Rodriguez said. "If he makes the club, we'll be a much better team."

So what other things must work out? Rodriguez said Chris Coghlan has to be able to handle the job in center field. Mike Stanton has to prove he can handle the cleanup spot and the Marlins have to be healthy. 

> How many homers do the Marlins expect out of John Buck this season? Rodriguez said 15 to 18. "But what we're looking for is leadership on the field from him," Rodriguez said.


1. Zeke DeVoss CF
2. Stephen Perez SS
3. Brad Fieger 1B
4. Harold Martinez 3B
5. Rony Rodriguez RF
6. Shane Rowland C
7. David Villasuso DH
8. Joey Porro 2B
9. Chantz Mack LF
SP: RHP Michael Rudman