Redmond ready for Grapefruit League play, says Stanton will hit third Saturday; plus Ruggiano update
JUPITER -- The first phase of Spring Training is officially in the books. The second phase -- game action -- begins Saturday with the Marlins taking on the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
Manager Mike Redmond wasn't ready to reveal his batting order just yet, but he did share his lineup: Juan Pierre will start in left field; Gorkys Hernandez in center; Giancarlo Stanton in right; Placido Polanco at third base; Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop; Donovan Solano at second base; Joe Mahoney at first base; Jeff Mathis behind the plate and Rule V pick Alfredo Silverio serving as designated hitter. Veteran right-hander John Maine will start on the mound.
All Redmond would say about his batting order was that Stanton would hit third.
"We got to get him ready for the [World Baseball] Classic," Redmond said. "He needs to get in there and get as many at-bats as he can so he's comfortable when he's ready to leave here. He needs to feel like he's ready to play and play a full game."
Stanton, Redmond said, will be leaving March 3rd to join Team USA in Phoenix.
The news regarding center fielder Justin Ruggiano doesn't look good.
Redmond said Ruggiano has a strained back and he's not sure how long he will be out.
"He's getting treatments," Redmond said. "We're going to have to [list it] as day-to-day, see how that progresses.
"It's always a concern when you get a guy that's banged up early in spring training. Being that it's so early, though, I'd rather have it now than two weeks left in spring training. But at the same time, too, those backs can be touchy. We've got to take a little bit of time, make sure he's healthy and ready to go for the long run, not just spring training games."
In the meantime the Marlins have plenty of options in center, Redmond said.
"[Bryan] Petersen, [Chris] Coghlan, those guys can go in there," Redmond said. "We'll mix guys in, [Christian] Yelich and [Jake] Marisnick. I'm going to get them in some games too. I'd like to see them play. We got some other guys: [Kevin] Mattison. We'll try to mix guys in and out as much as we possibly can and see how it all shakes out."
Redmond said he has no problems getting the Marlins' top prospects starts in center early this spring.
"When I was with the Twins [manager Ron Gardenhire] did a good job of getting a lot young guys into games and when those guys had a chance to come up to the big leagues it wasn't such an 'Ahh moment,'" Redmond said. "They were already prepared, been through it and had a little bit of experience. I think that's huge for young guys. The quicker we get them in a big league game, big league atmosphere the better."
JUPITER -- Marlins center fielder Justin Ruggiano's stiff lower back was still bothering him Friday morning, a day after he pulled himself out of practice after it tightened up on him fielding a ground ball.
Now he's awaiting results of another MRI taken Thursday and said a spine doctor is coming in to see him.
"It feels the same," said Ruggiano, who was carrying a little case of pain killers with him back to his locker. "It's frustrating."
The Marlins open Grapefruit League action on Saturday versus the Cardinals. Gorkys Hernandez and Bryan Petersen figure to get action in center field with Ruggiano out. The Marlins also have top prospects such as Christian Yelich and Jason Marisnick in camp.
Hernandez led the Venezuelan Winter League with a .367 batting average and 15 steals in 226 at-bats. He batted .212 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 45 games for the Marlins after being traded by Pittsburgh for Gaby Sanchez last season.
Hernandez said he's focused on having a big spring for the Marlins.
"I'm working hard to have a good spring training and now that the games are beginning I have an opportunity to show the team what I can do," Hernandez said. "I came to spring training to win a job."
Hernandez said he worked with a hitting coach in the Indians farm system in Venezuela who helped him focus on working deeper into the count and "waiting for my pitch."