New infield coach Perry Hill has been barking out orders during the first two days of drills, and the players are paying attention. They better. Hill is making them repeat drills that aren't up to his liking, and he's yelled out the word "unacceptable" more than once to players who don't get it right.
There's a good reason the Marlins brought back Hill. Defensively, they've been atrocious. Over the past five seasons, no team in the majors has allowed more unnearned runs. Here are the teams that have given up the most unearned runs over the past five seasons (2006-10) and where their overall record stands in relation to the .500 mark during that time:
Team Unearned Runs Record (relative to .500)
Marlins 375 -9
Nationals 366 -147
Diamondbacks 344 -34
Rangers 342 +12
Royals 326 -134
Other than the Rangers, lousy defense is usually a recipe for disaster. But think how the Marlins might have fared with better D. They had winning records in two of those five seasons and finished just two games below last year. By re-hiring Hill, replacing Dan Uggla at second with Omar Infante, and giving slick-fielding rookie Matt Dominguez every chance to win the job at third, the Marlins are serious about improving their fielding.
NOTES: Manager Edwin Rodriguez said it's too early to tell much from the early workouts, but said he's been impressed with new relievers Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica and Mike Dunn -- particularly Webb. He said Webb's pitches have excellent movement, yet he commands the strike zone. "There's nothing straight," Rodriguez said......Spoke with Ricky Nolasco after yesterday's workout and he says his injured thumb is improving. He's played catch the past two days and hopes to resume throwing side bullpens by the middle to end of next week...Overweight reliever Jose Ceda still is not throwing with the rest of his teammates as he continues to try to shed the extra luggage he brought with him to spring training.