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"Big year" for Ricky Nolasco

     JUPITER -- It was only two months ago that Ricky Nolasco sent word through his agent that, in the aftermath of the Marlins' roster purge, he wished to be traded. But Nolasco didn't go anywhere and is no longer discussing the matter.

      "I'm moving forward," Nolasco said this morning. "Anything that's happened in the past isn't going to be talked about anymore."

      The Marlins have no intention of trading Nolasco now. But given that Nolasco is making $11.5 million this season and is in the final year of his contract, he's a prime candidate to be moved before the July 31 trade deadline. And because Nolasco is pitching for his next contract, you can be certain he'll be giving it his all for the Marlins even if he would prefer to be somewhere else.

       "This is a big year," Nolasco acknowledged. "Obviously, every year is a big year. But this is a big year."

       It's all but official that the Marlins' all-time wins leader will take the mound for them on Opening Day in Washington, facing Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. But don't count on him being around in September for the season finale.

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        Juan Pierre was aghast when Rob Brantly couldn't remember the name of the pitcher he collected his first major league hit against. After all, it was only last August when it happened. What player doesn't remember the details -- pitcher, ballpark, date, etc. -- from his first hit?

        Well, Brantly is the odd bird who didn't, and Pierre sent him home Monday with a "homework assignment": identifying the pitcher. Brantly did his homework, showing up Tuesday with the pitcher's name: Rockies hurler Adam Ottavino.

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