PORT ST. LUCIE -- Remember that nine-game losing streak earlier in spring training? Consider it a distant memory as the Marlins close out the Grapefruit League season with a chance to finish the spring above .500 for the first time since 2008. They're 15-14 and need a win this afternoon against the Mets to finish with a winning record.
It'll be up to a large cast of minor leaguers to get the job done for the Marlins, as many of the regulars (Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Gaby Sanchez, etc.) didn't make the trip, and prospect Joey O'Gara is on the mound for the Fish. Then again, the Mets are also planning to flood the diamond with minor leaguers after a couple of at bats for each of the regulars.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez said about the only starter he plans to keep on the field for any length of time is center fielder Chris Coghlan. Otherwise, look for Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, John Buck and Donnie Murphy to make early exits.
Here are the lineups:
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, cf; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Mike Stanton, rf; 5. Greg Dobbs, 3b; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Wes Helms, 1b; 8. Donnie Murphy, ss; 9. Joey O'Gara, rhp.
Mets: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Angel Pagan, cf; 3. David Wright, 3b; 4. Carlos Beltran, rf; 5. Ike Davis, 1b; 6. Willie Harris, lf; 7. Brad Emaus, 2b; 8. Mike Nickeas, c; 9. Chris Young, rhp.
BULLPEN PLANS: With the decision to option Burke Badenhop to Triple A New Orleans, Rodriguez said he plans on using Brian Sanches and Edward Mujica in long relief, with Clay Hensley and Mike Dunn as the primary set-up guys for closer Leo Nunez.
INJURY UPDATES: Spoke briefly with both Stanton (quad) and Coghlan (shoulder), who said their injuries have all but healed completely. "It's feeling a whole lot better," Coghlan said of his arm. "I feel confident if somebody was going to run on me, I'd be okay." Stanton also said he's running at pretty much full strength. "I haven't played nine innings fo ra week and a half straight yet," Stanton said. "But it feels good."
NO MORE WISE: Dewayne Wise, who lost his chance at a spot on the Opening Day roster due to inflammation in his left big toe, has exercised the out option in his contract and was released.
SINKBEIL RELEASED: The Marlins released former first-round draft choice, right-hander Brett Sinkbeil, on Tuesday. Sinkbeil was taken with the 19th overall pick in the 2006 draft.
Stopped by the team's spring training complex this morning, where they were packing up the moving van with bats, helmets, baseballs and the usual gear for the trip south to Miami and Sun Life Stadium. Check out the video: