PORT CHARLOTTE -- The Marlins will make their second television appearance of spring training this afternoon when they take on the Rays here at Charlotte Sports Park at 1:05 p.m. SunSports will broadcast it.
Win or lose, manager Edwin Rodriguez made it clear this morning he would like to see his team pick up its intensity. The Marlins (5-11) have lost seven in a row and have been outscored 39-4 in their last five.
Sure, it's only spring training. And most of the pitching staff has spent the first two weeks of Grapefruit League play working on pitches and not focusing on game plans. But first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who ripped the team last Friday after the Marlins made five errors in a 10-0 loss to the Mets, said Tuesday enough is enough.
"We just got to turn it around, go out there, play baseball, hit the ball and do what the other team is doing to us," Sanchez said. "We need to start getting those timely hits and basically prepare to get in that winning mentality now so it can carry over into the season.
"Your mentality as an athlete as any player is to win when you're out on that field. I don't think the coaches need to tell us that. It doesn't matter the score. We want to win ballgames. You see an L next to your name and you don't like it. It's something we've had for the last five or six games. Enough is enough."
The Marlins will only have four regulars in today's lineup -- Sachez, second baseman Omar Infante, shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison, who will serve as the designated hitter.
But the regulars should start seeing more time moving forward according to Rodriguez, who also said Monday he's planning to work his regular bullpen arms longer so they can "stretch out."
A COUPLE TIDBITS...
> Rodriguez said right-handers Javi Vazquez and Anibal Sanchez, scratched from their scheduled starts on Monday and Tuesday, should be back in the rotation this weekend. Vazquez (elbow soreness) is on tap to pitch Saturday in Jupiter against the Cardinals. Sanchez will pitch Sunday in Jupiter against the Mets.
> As bad as the Marlins offense has been of late, Rodriguez said he isn't concerned. "The guys you want to see taking good at-bats, they've been taking good at-bats," he said. "Let's put it that way."
> While several new players competing for the last remaining roster spot have performed well through the first two weeks of the spring, Rodriguez isn't anywhere ready to name any leaders for the job. Ultimately, who wins that last spot on the bench, Rodriguez said, will likely come down to if Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton are ready for the start of the season.
As it stands, most figure utility man Emilio Bonifacio, veteran infielder Wes Helms, infielder Donny Murphy and a backup catcher are locks for bench spots. Assuming that's the case, Bonifacio would be the only available outfielder. So, it would make sense the Marlins keep an extra outfielder in that scenario.
So far, veteran pinch hitter Greg Dobbs, who can play some outfield but is mostly a corner infielder, has performed the best with the bat. Dobbs is 9 for 20 (.450) with a home run and four RBI. Dwayne Wise, meanwhile, has clearly proven he's the best defensive option in the outfield. But he's only hitting .214 with 6 RBI in 28 at-bats.
> So what was the Marlins' reaction to Nyjer Morgan's comments after Sunday's game that Ricky Nolasco intentionally hit him with an 0-2 pitch? A rather big rolling of the eyes according to Gaby Sanchez.
"It's just whatever at this point," Sanchez said. "I'm pretty sure Ricky's not hitting him on purpose. It's just one of those things -- what are you going to say?"