JUPITER -- The Marlins have signed first baseman Casey Kotchman to a minor-league contract and invitation to spring training, a move that highlights the increasing uncertainty surrounding Logan Morrison.
"I don't know if you want to call it insurance but, yeah, we have some concern that Lomo's not going to be ready," said Marlins president of baseball operations, Larry Beinfest.
Kotchman is good with the glove as evidenced by his career fielding percentage of .998, best among active first basemen. But his bat has been a notch below average for the position. He is a career .262 hitter with 71 home runs.
"The well-traveled Kotchman has played for six different teams -- the Angels, Braves, Red Sox, Mariners, Rays and Indians -- over the past five seasons. He hit .229 with 12 home runs and an OPS of .612 in 463 at bats for Cleveland last season.
Morrison has scheduled a doctor's visit in Colorado on Tuesday to have his surgically repaired right knee examined. He could receive the go-ahead at that time to begin jogging, but has said all along he's unsure if he'll be ready for Opening Day.
JUPITER -- The media waited all week for Giancarlo Stanton to talk about his feelings in the wake of the Marlins' offseason moves, which angered him initially. Given Stanton's mostly muted reponses to almost every question, let's put it this way: I would have much rather been up in Dunedin this morning listening to Jose Reyes.
Reyes, speaking to the media for the first time at spring training, said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria encouraged him to buy a home in Miami just days before he was traded to Toronto. Asked what he'd advise any future free agents who might be interested in playing for the Marlins, Reyes replied: "I don't have to tell them nothing. They can see what happened."
Reyes also told reporters he felt sorry for Stanton.
Reyes, who signed a 6-year deal with the Marlins and was traded after only one season, said he was surprised when he learned he had been traded.
"I was shocked because Jeffrey Loria, he always told me he's never going to trade me," Reyes said. "He always called my agent and said, 'Tell Jose to get a good place here to live,' and stuff like that."
Reyes said he had dinner with Loria only a few days before the trade and, even then, 'he was still talking about 'get a nice house in Miami.' That was kind of crazy I mean, how can you want me to spend some money in Miami when I have my house in New York, and you're going to trade me in two days?"
Future free agents won't be receiving any ringing endorsements from Reyes about the Marlins.
"I signed there for like six years," he said. "I played there for one year. So I don't have to explain anything. But I feel sorry for the fan base there in Miami because they had a great fan base there. To let them down like that, I mean, that's going to be tough for them."
As for Stanton, Reyes said, "I feel sorry for him."
Informed of that comment, Stanton said Friday in his "State of the Stanton" address that nobody should feel sorry for him.
"What is there to feel sorry for me about?," he said. "I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living."
In general, Stanton's comments were tempered from what they were in November when he expressed his displeasure over the drastic offseason moves that pretty much gutted the roster. Stanton, remember, sent out a tweet in which he wrote: "Alright I'm pissed off!!! Plain & simple." And in an MLB.com article written by Peter Gammons, Stanton expounded, saying: "I do not like this at all. This is the 'winning philosophy?' Then to say it's not about money? What is the motivation? There comes a breaking point. I know how I feel. I can't imagine how the city and fans feel."
Stanton said nothing of the sort Friday, though he was asked repeatedly about his feelings.
"People who know me know how I am," he said. "It's not going to be any pouting, or any of that stuff."
"I got what little words were out there to let it be known, and that was that," Stanton said of his earlier comments. "We're here now, and turn the page."
"You're not going to linger on something and cry about it all day. So you let it be known how you feel and push forward."
Asked if he would sign a long-term deal, Stanton responded: "I haven't been offered one, so that decisio isn't ready yet."
Asked if he can see any way it can end well for Stanton as a Marlin, his reponse was: "There's always ways to look past things. It's not like you (have a) fallout once and there's never anything to come from it. It can be rebuilt. There's time."
About the only time Stanton sounded forceful was when he was asked about this team's chances.
"Everyone thinks we're going to be the doormats now and that's not going to happen, and that's what we need to make known. It's not going to be easy, I'll tell you that. I'm not going to lay over and let everybody stomp on us. That's where I'm at."
The Marlins have made no official announcement, but it appears the spring roster is now down to 72 players. Left-handed pitcher Grant Dayton had his left arm in a sling on Friday one day after he said he had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow.