SAN JUAN -- It feels like former Marlins reunion night here at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. And in a lot of ways it has been.
With the Dominican Republic set to take on Venezuela in the first game of Pool C play tonight in the World Baseball Classic, a number of former Marlins had the opportunity to reunite and share a few laughs during batting practice -- including three-fourths of the Marlins 2012 starting infield.
"I thought you said the Marlins would never trade you?" shouted Hanley Ramirez to Jose Reyes with Omar Infante laughing by his side. "Didn't you say you wouldn't be the one to go?"
Of course the Marlins dealt all three away. Ramirez, the NL's 2009 batting champion, went to the Dodgers; Infante and Venezuela's Thursday night starter Anibal Sanchez went to American League champion Detroit; and Reyes, along with four other Marlins were sent to Toronto.
"The only one we are missing is [Emilio] Bonifacio," Infante told Ramirez and Reyes in Spanish. "Then we would be complete."
Reyes actually got a chance to shake hands with one of the guys he was traded for -- 22-year old right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who will pitch for Venezuela in relief of another former Marlin Carlos Zambrano on Saturday.
Alvarez, the only current Marlin here in San Juan, said he's enjoyed his experience hanging out with Venezuela's national team and feels like he's not missing anything important with the Marlins.
"If I was competing for a job then I probably would have stayed with my team," Alvarez said. "I came to the World Baseball Classic not because I'm sure I have a job but because I feel like I could learn a lot. Thankfully the [Marlins] gave me permission and I'm planning on working just as hard as if I was there."
Reyes and his Dominican teammates pounded out 41 combined hits in their blowout wins over the Phillies and Yankees in WBC tune-ups earlier this week. Asked about facing former Marlins teammate Anibal Sanchez, Reyes said: "We know it's not going to be easy because he's a good pitcher and he knows how to pitch.
"But right now we've got to plan how we're going to go about it and we'll try to go from there."
Ramirez laughed when he noticed a familiar pair of Marlins reporters Thursday. "The Marlins media is here? The best organization in baseball I tell you," said Ramirez, who grinned as he said it.
> Ramirez later interrupted a live TV interview with Miguel Cabrera to give him a big hug. He then posed for photos with Cabrera as the interview went on. Cabrera, part of the Marlins 2003 World Series team, won the Triple Crown in Detroit this past season.
> For a few photos here in San Juan check out my Twitter timeline