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It's a 20-year reunion for Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez and Carlos Tosca

    LAKE BUENA VISTA -- There were hugs and handshakes behind the batting cage a moment ago when rookie Marlins manager Mike Redmond had a chance to reunite with two people he said were instrumental in his baseball development: Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and bench coach Carlos Tosca.

    "I'm not here today without those guys," Redmond said.

    Tosca was the manager when Redmond began his pro career in the Marlins' system at Single A Kane County in 1993 and managed him again two years later at Double A Portland. Gonzalez was the catcher's manager in '94 at Single A Brevard County again in '98 at Triple A Charlotte.

     "Those guys have known me since I came out of Gonzaga," Redmond said. "Carlos was like a father to me. He was hard on me when I was younger as a catcher, really taught me to be responsible and to be accountable as a catcher. He was tough. He was really tough on me, old school. But it made me a better player and it made me learn the game."

     It was Gonzalez who broke the news to Redmond that he was being promoted to the majors when the two were at Triple A in 1998. The Marlins needed a catcher after acquiring, and then quickly trading, Mike Piazza. Redmond said Randy Knorr probably would have received the call-up had he not broken his thumb.

     "I was in the weight room and he came and told me I was going to the big leagues," Redmond said. "And I said, 'C'mon Fredi.' I thought he was joking. He said, 'No Red, you're going to the big leagues.'"

     Later this afternoon, the former pupil will be taking on his former coaches when the Marlins face the Braves.

     "It is a little bit weird," Redmond said. "But, at the same time, it's neat. I think it's great."

     Said Gonzalez, smiling: "That makes me feel old. That's not good."

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     -- Jose Fernandez was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday in Jupiter and, if everything goes well, will likely make his first spring appearance on Thursday in a "B" game. Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said Fernandez has been dealing with a tight hamstring.

     __________________

     -- Redmond said he's easing Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco into Grapefruit League action. That's by design. Polanco will make his first spring training appearance on Tuesday in Jupiter while Pierre, who has not played since Saturday's Grapefruit League opener, will also be in the lineup.

     "Those guys have been around a while and, with as many guys as we have in camp I want to see play, those guys are probably the least of my worries," Redmond said. "Those veteran guys, I want to take care of them, especially Polanco havine some back problems over the last couple of years, make sure he eases into it. We need those guys for the long haul. We don't have a ton of depth and we definitely need J.P. and Polanco to be healthy."

 

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