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Foul tip breaks catcher Jeff Mathis' collarbone

    JUPITER -- The Marlins won their first Grapefruit League game on Saturday but suffered a signifcant loss in the process when a foul tip broke the right collarbone of catcher Jeff Mathis.

     Mathis was not only expected to serve as the principle backup for Rob Brantly, but is the only catcher in camp with any major league experience.

     "Obviously a big blow for us," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. "Just a freak deal. We don't have a ton of depth behind the plate. We're pretty young back there."

     Redmond said Mathis could be out for six weeks.

     Mathis was injured in the fourth inning when the Cardinals' Matt Holliday fouled a ball off the catcher's padded chest protector. Mathis said he could tell he was seriously hurt when he tried to throw the ball back to the mound.

     "It just got me square," Mathis said. "It hit me in the pad. It's just one of those things, catches you just right. Been hit there a lot of times. It felt like any other foul tip I've taken off the mask, off the shoulder, off the hand. But when I went to throw, I knew something was wrong."

     Mathis said the only good news is that the the fracture is not displaced.

     Mathis left the game immediately and was replaced by Kyle Skipworth.


     Given the lack of catching experience in the organization, the Marlins will almost certainly look around the league for backup help.