JUPITER -- Not that he's content with how the Marlins have been performing in losing eight straight coming into today. But Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez is taking a low-key approach when it comes to pointing out the flaws, especially with such a young club.
"If it were a more veteran team, it would be different," Rodriguez said. "Whenever I would feel like it, I would express myself. But, with this team, I have to be careful. I don't want to hurt any feelings. So if I say something, I have to watch what I say, because they I might say something and they will take it the wrong way."
Bottom line: no team meetings to air his disappointment. No yet.
As Rodriguez pointed out this morning, it's not just that the Marlins are losing. It's "the way they've been losing games."
The bats are dead. The starters have stunk. The bullpen has been abysmal. The defense has been dreadful. Nothing is going right. Then again, it's spring training and the Marlins have 2 1/2 weeks until Opening Day to iron out the flaws.
Step 1 on that path: Rodriguez said he'll start playing the regulars more, at least those that are ealthy. Right fielder Mike Stanton remains hobbled by a quad injury that's taking longer to heal than was originally anticipated. Rodriguez said he remains "optimistic" that Stanton can still get into seven or eight games this spring and be ready for Opening Day. But there's no guarantee, either. Stanton is just doing light jogging at the moment.
"I think because (the Marlins) are losing and all that's going on, people are starting to say 'Where's Stanton? When's he going to be ready?,'" Rodriguez said. "Pretty much, we were expecting this."
For now, Rodriguez is trying to ride out the tidal wave of losses by remaining calm.
"It's spring training, but it's a game," Rodriguez said. "As a ballplayer, and as a manager, you want to win, regardless of what games you're playing. Hopefully, starting today, we'll start seeing more intensity and more energy on the field."
But Rodriguez says he's not prepared to rip into the club.
"As a manager, you have to pick your spots," he said. "We have a very young team, and I think they're learning. I don't want to show them...give them the impression that there's panic. There's not. I have to be careful how I'm going to say all that, and the tone that I'm going to use. I don't want to hurt any feelings."
TODAY'S LINEUPS: (Note: Today's game is the first of five straight being broadcast live on 790-AM The Ticket)
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, cf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Wes Helms, dh; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Emilio Bonifacio, rf. Pitching: Chris Volstad.
Rays: 1. John Jaso, c; 2. Elliot Johnson, cf; 3. Manny Ramirez, dh; 4. Matt Joyce, rf; 5. Felipe Lopez, 3b; 6. Casey Kotchman, 1b; 7. Sean Rodriguez, 2b; 8. Reid Brignac, ss; 9. Sam Fuld, lf. Pitching: Cory Wade.