PORT ST. LUCIE -- Christian Yelich said his goal this spring was to leave the Marlins with a good impression, "leave" in the sense that Yelich -- and pretty much everyone else -- expected him to be sent to Double A Jacksonville to start the season.
Well, Yelich is certaintly drawing notice. And he hasn't left yet.
On Saturday, Yelich came off the bench and hit an opposite-field homer. He's hitting .368 this spring with four homers, which leads the team, and four other extra-base hits.
"I'm just trying to ride it out as long as possible and see what happens," he said.
After Henderson Alvarez started and pitched into the fourth for the Marlins, Kevin Slowey took over and went 4 1/3 innings, giving up a run on two hits. Slowey is making a strong case for either a spot in the starting rotation or in the bullpen as a long reliever.
"I want to be on a major league team and this has been a great opportunity for me to show that I can be," Slowey said.
Among those fighting for roster spots, Chris Coghlan had a pair of hits, including a RBI triple, and Chone Figgins singled and drew a walk after an 18-pitch at bat.
PORT ST. LUCIE -- All of a sudden, manager Mike Redmond feels like he has all his weapons.
Not only are Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs returning from injuries, but Giancarlo Stanton, Henderson Alvarez and Steve Cishek are returning from the World Baseball Classic.
Polanco, who has been out with an oblique strain, is back in the lineup today while Dobbs (calf strain) is playing in a minor-league game and could be used as a pinch-hitter later this afternoon when the Marlins face the Mets. Alvarez takes the mound for the Marlins in what marks his first appearance for the Marlins since joining Venezuela for the WBC.
Meanwhile, with the U.S. being eliminated from the WBC last night by Puerto Rico, Redmond is looking forward to the return of Stanton and Cishek. Redmond said Stanton would start Sunday in Jupiter versus the Cardinals and Cishek would also be used in relief.
"Even though it's just a couple of guys, it thins you out," Redmond said. "We're trying to build that chemistry and get things rolling. We're down to the last couple of weeks and it's nice to have those guys back in camp. Now I feel a lot better."
Redmond is also relieved that all of the WBC Marlins returned healthy. The same can't be said for the Yankees and Mets, who lost Mark Teixeira and David Wright to injuries sustained during the tournament. Then again, Texeira and Wright could have just as easily been injured with their MLB teams during spring training.
Marlins: 1. Juan Pierre, lf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Rob Brantly, c; 4. Justin Ruggiano, cf; 5. Chris Coghlan, rf; 6. Donovan Solano, 2b; 7. Casey Kotchman, 1b; 8. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; 9. Henderson Alvarez, p.
Mets: 1. Mike Baxter, rf; 2. Justin Turner, 3b; 3. Ike Davis, 1b; 4. Marlon Byrd, cf; 5. Lucas Duda, lf; 6. Travis d'Arnaud, c; 7. Brian Bixler, 2b; 8. Omar Quintanilla, ss; 9. Shaun Marcum, p.